In working with manufacturers to make use of their Apprenticeship Levy funds, our experts have received a lot of questions about the Levy’s requirement that 20% of an apprentice’s time be spent on off-the-job training. While this stipulation has created some concern amongst employers, there is no reason to be alarmed. This is actually a fairly straightforward requirement to meet and can be of benefit to both the apprentice and employer.
What does off-the-job mean?
Off-the-job means training that takes the apprentice away from their day-to-day work activities. This can take a wide variety of forms and can be built around other qualification requirements. For example, if the apprentice is studying for an NVQ, their classroom learning for that qualification can be considered their off-the-job training time.
This off-the-job training can still be highly relevant for the job, such as health and safety training or a course on how to operate a particular machine.
The apprenticeship training programmes offered at EEF’s Technology Hub and Technology Training Centre in Birmingham all meet the off-the-job training requirement for the Levy, while at the same time being highly relevant and tailored to each employer’s particular needs.
Does this mean one day a week away from work?
There is no set timetable for when the 20% off-the-job training needs to occur. This means employers can decide to conduct most of this training in the first year of a three year apprenticeship or consistently one day a week for the duration of the apprenticeship.
Does this training need to be with certain training providers?
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (which oversees funding for apprenticeship training in the UK) recently released its Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) for 2017. Only companies that train with a ESFA approved training provider will be eligible to receive Apprenticeship Levy funding. So manufacturers training apprentices should be sure to check out this list before undertaking any training.
Is this a requirement for all apprenticeships?
Yes, even when Levy funds are used for up-skilling through management apprenticeships, 20% of the training must be off-the-job training.
What if my apprentice lives and works far from a training provider?
Off-site training provides many advantages to apprentices and, in turn, their employer. From allowing apprentices to fully focus on their training to the chance to network and problem solve with other apprentices in similar situations, this training can certainly be viewed as a net benefit.
However, not all employers are located near a registered training provider. Fortunately, EEF’s apprenticeship programme has a residential option where employers can take advantage of a discounted rate EEF have with the Holiday Inn and pay for apprentices to be accommodated in a local hotel providing for all their living necessities and to be located near the Training Centres during their off-the-job training.
In planning for your autumn apprenticeship starts, be sure to lay out how, when and where the training will take place into your vacancy descriptions and your apprenticeship contracts. EEF works directly with employers to ensure their apprenticeship training programme will meet the requirements of the Levy and relevant qualifications and degrees as well as the needs of the employer.