Apprenticeship employers have the responsibility to ensure that their apprentices spend 20% of their time completing ‘off-the-job training’. This term refers to learning and skills development that takes place outside of the normal working environment and the role of the apprentice within the business. Whilst it is typically spent working towards the qualification element of an apprenticeship, it doesn’t necessarily mean an employer has to release their apprentice for the traditional one day per week college ‘day release’, although this can be the case where it is appropriate and if this is where the time would be best spent. Off-the-job training can be achieved in many ways and there are many simple activities that can count towards the 20% required learning time for quality apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are a work-based training programme, so the off-the-job training element helps learners to become professionally competent in their chosen industry. A quality apprenticeship will facilitate continuous and frequent learning throughout, and the 20% off-the-job training is an integral part of this. Whilst 20% is the minimum standard, employers can choose to dedicate additional time to training as required.

What counts as off-the-job training?

Activities count as off the job training if they are directly relevant to the apprenticeship in the sense that the apprentice is learning new knowledge, skills or behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard.

It is essential that off-the-job training closely relates to the relevant apprenticeship standard to ensure apprentices are learning an effective combination of practical and theoretical skills for their area of study.

Off-the-job learning hours should happen during an apprentice’s normal working hours and must be paid at the same rate as these.  If part of an apprentices training falls outside of their normal working hours, they must be offered time off in lieu or additional payment.

What does not count as off-the-job training time?

Some activities do not count towards off-the-job training time even though they relate to training and skills development, so it’s important to be aware of these.

Any time spent travelling to workshops or training-related events does not count. Nor does training for skills, knowledge and behaviours that are not included in the apprenticeship standard, even where this training is necessary for the specific role an apprentice has within your company. English and Maths functional skills training does not count as off-the-job training even though it is a requirement that all apprentices hold a level 2 in these subjects by the time they complete. Finally, you cannot count progress reviews and assessments that are needed for the assessment of the apprenticeship as off-the-job-training time because these do not involve developing new skills or knowledge.

Examples of off-the-job training

Not sure on what off-the-job training could be for your apprentices? Here are some examples to get you started.

  • Working through a relevant course or qualification & completing course assignments
  • Guided mentor or coach visits
  • In-house training related to the apprenticeship, including shadowing
  • Mentoring to provide developmental advice
  • Workshops, masterclasses, networking events & conferences focussing on topics related to the apprenticeship
  • Industry visits to external organisations or other departments in the organisation
  • Preparation for professional or reflective discussion
  • Gathering evidence for an e-portfolio
  • Simulation & role-play exercises in preparation for real-life scenarios
  • Additional support & accommodations for apprentices with additional learning needs
  • Participation in online forums relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Attending industry-related competitions & shows
  • Group learning sessions
  • Researching information relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Face-to-face tutor lead classes
  • Attending webinars relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Internal learning & development sessions relating to the apprenticeship


Oxford Professional Education Group is a main provider of apprenticeship training in the UK. If you would like to discuss your apprenticeship training needs with us in more depth, we would love to hear from you. You can call us on 01865 515 255, send us an email at or fill in a contact form.