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The other day, the government released its guidance document on off the job training. This is an aspect of all apprenticeships that all trainers/employers must provide. It’s what a lot of us have been waiting for for a while now, and finally we have something to go on.

And TQUK is here to guide you across the perilous Seas of Apprenticeship Standards to white shores.

So, if you’re an employer and/or training provider looking to offer a course of learning leading to the completion of an apprenticeship, here’s the short and sweet summation:10 Things You’ll Need to Know About Off the Job Training (OJT).

1.   20%

The government deemed it necessary to require that all employers/training providers dedicate 20% of all the apprentice’s contracted payable hours to OJT.

2.   One Day a Week

In order for learner to get their off the job training in, they need to devote 20% of their time to it. So, in a 12 month apprenticeship, a learner would need to devote 364 hours to OJT. That’s equivalent to one day a week, or 7 hours, devoted to OJT. Easy!

3.   It’s the theory, stupid

  1. OJT has to reinforce practical skills with technical and theoretical learning. It’s the class-room aspects of learning that goes with the hands-on stuff. Grow their brains!

4.   It’s not work work

  1. OJT has to be outside of normal working activities. Whatever learning the learner undertakes should not coincide with everyday duties. Time spent doing OTJ should be spent on acquiring knowledge or skills that are relevant to completing the apprenticeship.

    This could mean the learner taking time to learn how to use a new machine or reading from a textbook. During this time, normal duties must not interfere.

5.   But it’s still serious

All time taken to do OJT will come out of the learner’s contracted hours. For instance, if the learner takes time out to do e-learning at their desk, that will count as OJT hours and will not have to be made up with extra hours on normal duties. If a learner wants to attend a lecture outside of normal working hours that will be relevant to their program, and that lecture takes place in the evening and takes up two hours, a following work day will end early for the learner.

6.   It’s not the where, but the what

  1. OJT can take place inside or outside of normal work hours and on and off the normal work premises. It does not matter so much the location where the activity takes place but the activity itself.

7.   And it’s not the basics, either

Sorry, but OJT hours don’t include time spent on compulsory training, like safety and compliance training, diversity training, etc.

8.   All for one and one for all

Some employers/ trainers might find it tough to accommodate the need to provide 20% OJT because their particular apprenticeship program does not allow for or benefit from that kind of learning. As the industry moves forward, the OJT requirements for particular apprenticeship standards will surely change. However, at the moment, for the sake of clarity, the government is going with a one-size-fits-all approach.

9.   It’s up to you

Trainers/employers must outline how they expect the learner to spend their 20% OJT when the apprenticeship starts. That means you’ll have to prepare and outline a general plan as to how the learner will meet this requirement. (Activities are not prescribed, however. The government is clear that they want to take a holistic approach and let employers/trainers decide what would be the best fit for their learner.)

10.   Keep a pen and paper handy

All a learner’s time spent in OJT must be tracked and documented. Proof of time spent in OJT must be evidenced if demanded.

If you got this far and you’re still confused, or if you just want more detail, click here to visit TQUK’s OJT page on our website. Or for ALL the details, click here to download the complete government-issued guidance document.

Keep abreast of news on this subject as it becomes available by follow us on Twitter at @tq_uk.

We’ll see you soon!