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20% off-the-job training – what it means to employers

How employers can embrace the huge benefits off-the-job training can bring.

20% off-the-job training – what it means to employers

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Apprenticeships have always been a blend of on- and off-the-job training.  

Off-the-job training isn't restricted to classroom learning. It can be used for a number of different activities such as reading, research or tasks with team members – anything the apprentice wouldn't usually do during their working day. This gives employers and apprentices the opportunity to do something innovative, learn new skills and bring value into the business.  

In fact, some of the most successful apprenticeship programmes across Europe fully embrace off-the-job learning. Countries like Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands – often described as the gold standard for apprenticeships – commit to 33% off-the-job training. This level of extensive learning gives apprentices a fully rounded set of skills, so they're occupation-ready at the end of their course.

UK employers should look to Europe and embrace the huge benefits off-the-job training can bring: 

1. Higher skills development 

Giving your apprentices time to learn away from work will help them develop specific skills and bring fresh ideas into the workplace. You can use this training to fill your existing skills gap and share learning throughout your business.  

2. Lifelong learning

When you see the benefits off-the-job learning brings, you're bound to roll it out for the rest of your staff. Encouraging professional development is a great way to boost productivity, increase staff satisfaction and improve retention rates, making your business a better place to work.

3. Make it work for you

The 20% off-the-job training must be relevant to the apprenticeship standard and be different to the apprentice's day-to-day tasks. Other than that, you can customise the training to suit you. It can include seminar sessions, research, shadowing or industry visits – anything that can help build partnerships and bring knowledge into your business. 

There's been a lot of talk about the 20% rule recently, especially about how to measure and record off-the-job training. The solution is really simple though – you just need to complete a commitment statement that includes how the provider intends to deliver the 20% off-the-job training.  

How can OneFile help?  

We've developed our learning software so apprentices can record and track their off-the-job training within the system. This means the employer and training provider can see exactly what the apprentice has achieved during their off-the-job training. 

They can also attach their commitment statement and any other supporting evidence, so it's ready for inspection by the ESFA. At OneFile, we've also created a checklist to ensure you include everything you need in your commitment statement.

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.