Highfield Solutions: on-programme learning and off-the-job training – what does it all mean?  

This month at Highfield we’re shining a spotlight on apprenticeships. We’ll be covering everything you need to know from on-programme learning to gateway and the final stage of the process, end-point assessment.

The focus of this article will be the on-programme learning phase and the much talked about 20% off-the-job training. We’ll look at what is meant by off-the-job training, the activities that count towards off-the-job training and the support we can provide that brings a logical structure to on-programme learning.

What is off-the-job training?
Anyone involved in apprenticeships, whether as a learner, a training provider or an employer will have heard about the 20% off-the-job training. But, what does it actually mean?

Is it one day per week that the apprentice will be away from their place of work? Does the training have to cover anything in particular? Is there a way around this training?

The definition as defined by the ESFA in its funding rules is:

‘Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day 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.’

Calculating off-the-job training
You can’t avoid the 20% off-the-job training. The apprentice, and employers, are expected to evidence that they have met this ratio. But, the off-the-job training element doesn’t necessarily mean one day per week or, indeed, training that takes place outside of the workplace.

Many employers are known to be put off apprenticeships due to a misconception that the off-the-job training must take up one day per week. The ratio is set in stone, but it is up to the apprentice, training provider and employer to agree on a system that works for them. Some may take the approach of one day per week, others may prefer to work in blocks of a few days or a week at a time. As long as the 20% ratio is evidenced, there is flexibility to deliver it to suit the needs of the employer.

What counts towards the 20%?
There are a number of ways that apprentices can carry out their off-the-job training. Some of which may be standard practice within the business they are joining.

There are a number of activities that count towards the 20% off-the-job training that are likely to be part of an employer’s standard process including:

  • staff induction – staff inductions are likely the first thing any apprentice will undertake when starting their apprenticeships. An induction likely includes procedural training for the role in which they are employed, training from human resources, understanding the company’s ways of working and ensuring they understand health and safety policies and procedures
  • shadowing and mentoring – when starting a new role many businesses implement a shadowing scheme in the early stages. Learning from an experienced employee that has carried out the role for a period of time
  • industry-specific training – for example product training for retailers or first-aid training for social care apprentices
  • industry visits – if your apprentice attends visits to partner businesses or meets with suppliers it can count towards the off-the-job training requirement
  • attending industry-related events – expose your apprentice to the wider world of work and allow them to attend conferences, CPD events and award ceremonies – not only do they get to experience fantastic networking opportunities and see how other organisations work (ideal for new suggestions and continuous improvement) but it also counts towards the 20%!

There are also several activities that can be carried out that cause minimal disruption to the business, and can be completed while the apprentice is still at their place of work but not carrying out their day-to-day tasks including:

  • work/study for the apprenticeship – working through workbooks, reading textbooks, watching training videos and completing assignments can all count towards the 20%, it doesn’t necessarily need to be completed away from the office, or be completed on the same day
  • e-learning courses that develop the apprentice’s knowledge and skills. At Highfield we offer Short Courses that build on skills such as communication, team working and managing conflict.

Finally, there are those training elements that likely take place away from the place of work, which include:

  • seminars/lectures – time spent with the training provider, this is often training that covers key aspects of the standard or mandatory qualifications and means time spent away from the workplace
  • role play – popular training practice in customer service training, this is particularly popular within the hospitality sector but may also be utilised within retail too. This can be particularly useful for covering potentially tricky situations

Highfield’s Solutions

Apprenti-kits
Highfield Apprenti-kits and E-kits are designed to provide structure to the on-programme delivery of the apprenticeship standards.

Mapped to the standards, our range of Apprenti-kits is:

  • broken down into manageable-sized modules that can be worked through at the apprentice’s own pace
  • cover all the required knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice is expected to demonstrate
  • evidence readiness for gateway and the move on to end-point assessment
  • written by industry experts with real-world experience of the sector they support
  • are available in paper and digital formats

We also offer the chance to enrich apprentices’ learning experiences with our Apprenti-kit and E-kit PLUS. This enhanced bundle contains additional resources including a health and wellbeing booklet, a safeguarding booklet and a choice of 5 e-learning Short Courses.

You can view our full range of Apprenti-kits and e-kits here.

E-learning
At Highfield our award-winning e-learning takes all shapes and sizes. A popular addition for apprenticeships includes our e-learning Short Courses. These can be bundled with our Apprenti-kit and E-kits to provide an enhanced training bundle for your apprentice, or used as stand-alone modules. Our Short Courses cover topics including team working, communication and managing conflict, which can be particularly relevant to an apprentice at the start of their career journey.

You can view our full range of Short Courses here.  

Next Steps
If you’d like more information on any of our apprenticeship or end-point assessment services, you can visit us on stand A4 at the AAC Conference in Birmingham between 27 – 28 March or, if you’re not attending, feel free to contact a member of our team on 0845 226 0350/01302 363277 or email info@highfield.co.uk.

 

The New World of Apprenticeship Standards and the Puzzle of On-Programme Delivery

Apprenticeships have evolved. A shift away from the safe and well-known framework to the more flexible and holistic approach of standards offers employers, training providers and colleges a host of opportunities. However, the relative lack of structure also causes confusion, uncertainty and makes delivery a puzzle that must be solved.

Since the launch of the standards we have been asked so many questions that start with the word ‘how’. How do I start? How do I track progress? How do I prove my apprentices are ready for gateway? How do I know that my apprentices are progressing? How do I evidence my apprentices have the requisite knowledge, skills and behaviours required of the standard? How do I ensure my apprentices cover the 20% off-the-job training?

If you’re asking these same questions, please know that you are not alone.

The change to the standards is a whole new world when it comes to apprenticeships. It is a giant leap in the delivery model from frameworks to standards and the lack of detail can make planning the mandatory on-programme learning difficult. The lack of a clearly defined structure can leave training providers unsure how to structure their delivery. It can leave the apprentice feeling isolated and confused and means that the risk of the apprentice dropping off the programme is heightened.

Clearly there is a need for greater structure. There are ambitious targets of 3 million apprentices completing the standards by 2020. This number becomes increasingly unlikely as we all read stories of the dwindling numbers of new starters, and that many providers across all sectors are claiming it is taking longer for apprentices to reach gateway, and that the natural consequence of this is, of course, that apprentices’ motivation reduces while their frustrations go the opposite way. The risk of non-completion also rises.

When it comes to supporting our customers through on-programme delivery, the main way we can help is through our Apprenti-kits. The premise of our Apprenti-kit is that it provides a clear pathway from day one of the apprenticeship through to gateway, and that they are:  

  • mapped to the standards that they support
  • created by genuine industry experts with recent relevant experience
  • are available as an e-kit that is compatible with most e-portfolio systems
  • are broken down into manageable sized modules that can be completed at the apprentice’s own pace
  • evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the apprentice
  • contain over 1,000 hours of our experience, expertise and knowledge
  • track learners’ progress towards gateway and evidence their readiness for end-point assessment

We are committed to continuing to listen and respond to our customers’ needs, particularly around on-programme apprenticeship delivery and preparation for end-point assessment. Our ultimate aim is to contribute to the number of apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship, and to continue to provide leading work-based learning qualifications and training materials.

Speaking about Highfield Apprenti-kits, Jon Ansty, Head of Assessment, at Eastleigh College, said:

I have been working with Highfield for nearly three and a half years now. During this time our working relationship has flourished. When we started looking at the transition to standards, we met a few times to discuss the offer from Highfield around the Apprenti-kit for frameworks as well as standards.

The kits we use are for a range of areas, we use kits for the new standards in Hospitality Team Member and Hospitality Supervisor, Customer Service Practitioner as well as Adult Care Worker and Lead Adult Care Worker.

The quality of the kits has been recognised by our employers including HC3S where we have branded the Apprenti-kits with their logo. The kits are of a professional level and I am impressed by the support provided by both Highfield in facilitating further tweaks to personalise the kits for Eastleigh College as well as the employers.’

Find out how we can work with your organisation to deliver effective on-programme training by calling us on 0845 226 0350 or 01302 363 277 or emailing info@highfieldassessment.com.