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Simplifying and Improving Apprenticeships – ESFA Scraps 20% off-the-job Training Requirements

It was recently announced by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) that significant changes to the off-the-job training requirements for apprenticeships would be coming into effect. Currently all apprentices are required to complete 20 percent off-the-job training during their working week to be able to successfully complete an apprenticeship. However, in an effort to simplify and improve apprenticeships for both employers and learners, the baseline will soon be changed to a flat figure of 6 hours of off-the-job (OTJ) training per week regardless of the number of hours worked by the apprentice. These important changes, coming into effect from 1st August, came under discussion after many in the sector believe the current requirements unfairly impact apprentices who work 30+ hours per week due to more OTJ training required in order to hit the threshold. This change has been welcomed by many as it means many apprentices will be able to spend more time in the workplace becoming fully competent sooner, aiding both employer output and apprentices’ own potential.

The ESFA have however, made it clear that this new figure is a base line and “must not dilute the existing requirement - to provide the right level of training to every apprentice.” In the published summary of changes, they have stated that the volume of training will still depend on the initial assessment of the apprentice, and this may mean more than 6 hours of training will be completed per week if necessary for the apprentice’s development.

What is clear is that there has been some relaxation of a rule that was, at times, tough for some employers to embrace and put some off engaging with apprenticeships, yet the quality of learning and development is sacrosanct. An apprentice fully supported by the employer and training provider to develop all round skills, not those just limited to the tasks in hand, is a better apprentice. The better experience they live through the more rewarded they feel, leads to better retention and overall productivity. A win/win all round.

See below for a helpful infographic explaining the benefits, requirements and practical examples of OTJ training!


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