Off the job training refers to the portion of an apprenticeship that is spent studying the coursework aspect of the apprenticeship and is put toward academic achievement at the end of the apprenticeship.
All apprenticeship standards have an element of academic achievement to them with different educational attainment levels being required for entry to different levels of apprenticeship. This will normally comprise some 20% of their time on the apprenticeship. Some people will not have a high enough educational level to warrant entry to particular apprenticeships and may have to settle for one which is at a lower level.
Apprenticeships are split into Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree levels and each of these is split into numbered “levels” which correspond to national educational framework levels of achievement.
Intermediate apprenticeships offer the lowest level of qualification of all of the apprenticeship levels. This is Level 2 and they are worth the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at A-C levels. This equates to grades 9-4 on the new scale.
Intermediate apprenticeships are the most popular type of apprenticeship in the UK. This is because of the ease of accessibility for those on the lower end of the educational spectrum. An apprenticeship provides a positive outcome, no matter the educational attainment that was achieved previously.
Advanced apprenticeships are also a popular form of apprenticeship and these are generally at a level three education level which is equivalent to two A-level passes. You will typically be working toward an NVQ Level 3 at this point, or a BTec Diploma, depending on the nature of the apprenticeship.
Advanced apprenticeships often follow on from an entry level or intermediate apprenticeship, once these have been used to meet the entry requirements. This allows the apprentice to continue their educational journey in the same field, sometimes even with the same company.
Higher apprenticeships are the next step up still and they cover levels four and five, which are equivalent to a foundation degree or an NVQ Level 4 or 5. There would be equivalent to a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Higher National Diploma (HND) respectively.
Higher apprenticeships tend to attract more people from diverse career paths, so perhaps they are people who are already employed by a company but who want to broaden their skills base in order to fill an existing skills gap, or to secure a promotion within the company.
Degree apprenticeships are levels six and seven in the educational attainment list, with level six being equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree and level seven being equivalent to a Masters degree.
A degree apprenticeship is a route to the higher echelons of education that doesn’t involve tuition fees and offers extensive on the job training as well as the off the job training aspect that will lead to the awarding of the qualifications at the end of the apprenticeship.
As more people struggle with the cost of living crisis, with the perfect storm of Brexit and the covid pandemic thrown into the mix and making life more difficult for many, a degree apprenticeship looks like an increasingly good option to avoid student debt.
Anyone who can achieve a degree apprenticeship in the current climate should be well placed to use the skills shortages across the country to find jobs that are higher quality and better paid than they might otherwise have managed.
Who Manages Off the Job Training?
Employers who are running apprenticeships outsource the running of their off the job training to an outside company referred to as a training provider. This is because the training providers are all up to speed on the requirements for the different apprenticeship standards and are well-versed in providing appropriate training to help apprentices meet their goals.
Training providers have experience in areas that an individual employer would just never have the opportunity to build up, such as setting a curriculum and curating the learning materials provided to the apprentice.
They tailor the training to the individual employer as well as ensuring that the apprentice learns the skills that they need to more generally to achieve the educational aspect of their apprenticeship. This probably helps to contribute to the high apprentice retention rates once apprenticeships have been completed.
According to Fareport, a huge 71% of apprentices stay with the same employer once they have completed their apprenticeship. This is a testament to the value of the apprenticeships to both the employer and apprentice alike.
Where Does Off the Job Training Take Place?
The location where off the job training is really a matter of negotiation for the employer, the training provider and the apprentice. It may be that some training providers feel that the apprentice should come to their premises but depending on how far that is from where the apprentices live and their transport options, it may not be feasible.
It is becoming more common, in keeping with trends around the world since the pandemic, to embrace distance learning where possible, with apprentices being able to undertake off the job training from the comfort of their own home. This makes a lot of sense and cuts out travel difficulties as well as eliminating the time involved in travelling to and from a training centre.
It is expected that more and more apprentices will seek this option in the future as the experience of the pandemic has shown that there is very little that can be done in person, particularly when it comes to learning outcomes that can’t be done remotely.
Another common option is for the off the job training to take place at the premises of the employer. This will be somewhere that the apprentice will be used to visiting anyway for the other 80% of their apprenticeship and it may be that this is a better fit for them than at home, as there may be fewer distractions from siblings, parents etc in their normal work environment. This necessitates either the training provider visiting in person or a remote connection via the internet, just from the company’s premises rather than from the apprentice’s home. If you would like more information on apprenticeships generally, take a look at our apprenticeship resources page.