What is 20% off-the-job training?

One of the key elements of an apprenticeship requires employers to give all apprentices at least 20% of their total working hours for "off-the-job" learning.
This is defined as "learning" which is undertaken outside of the normal day-today working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. 
This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice's normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their "normal working duties".

Learners will need to record the off-the-job hours using the time log section within smart assessor, being undertaken and homework conducted in a learner's own time does not count towards the 20% off-the-job hours, it is vital that learners agree a plan to enable them to reach the average hours required each week calculated by taking 20% of their contacted weekly hours, times by the number of weeks (minus holiday entitlement) of the course.

This can include the following:

  • The teaching of theory (for example, skills development sessions, masterclasses, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning, manufacturer training)
  • Practical training
  • Time spent writing assessments and assignments
  • Learning support
  • Shadowing and mentoring
  • Industry visits and attendance at exhibitions
  • Online blended learning

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • English and maths (to Level 2)
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment required for an apprenticeship framework or standard (i.e. assessor/skills coach meetings)
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice's paid working hours


Doing maths - How to calculate the 20%

When calculating the 20% off-the-job, we take the following approach:

  • Work out the total working hours for the apprentice. This should exclude annual leave entitlement and bank holidays
  • Calculate 20% of the total working hours across the planned duration of the programme
  • Each of our programmes have a different number of face-to-face training days
  • We subtract these from the total to give a suggested number of hours of workplace off-the-job study each week
  • The remainder will be completed in the workplace but away from immediate pressures of the day job
year established2005year established
number of clients791number of clients
apprentices on programmes685apprentices on programmes
NVQ learners on programmes929NVQ learners on programmes

Any Questions?

For all enquiries, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be happy to help:

European Social Fund Matrix Education & Skills Funding Agency Serco