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Off-the-job training

An overview of what 20% off-the-job training is, what it means for employers and their business, how it affects them and how this requirement can be measured.

One of the requirements for the Level 7 apprenticeship in accountancy is that students spend 20% of their total time on the apprenticeship on off-the-job training.

The ESFA defines off-the-job training as any “learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship”.

In this section, we go into more detail as to what this means for employers and their business, how it affects them and how this requirement can be measured. 

It does not necessarily mean “outside the workplace”

The training can take place externally, but this is not a requirement. It can be done in the office, or where the employer chooses, as long as what the apprentice undertakes is not part of their normal duties.

This includes online learning and practical training, both of which can easily be done in the normal place of work.

It is nothing new

While this is the first time employers are asked to formally demonstrate that their student is sufficiently involved in off-the-job training, the actual concept is nothing new, as most employers are probably already covering this as part of their normal training process. 

Any trainee, or new employee, would be required to spend time learning new systems, visiting external clients or shadowing existing colleagues. All these are examples of off-the-job training and count towards the 20% of the standard. 

The tuition provider monitors the process

Employers can be as involved as they want when it comes to specifying what off-the-job training should look like within their organisation. However, it is the tuition provider who monitors the process and ensures that apprentices have spent enough time on this part of the apprenticeship.

The tuition provider will be able to get into more detail about what they count as off-the-job training and provide suggestions that align with an employer’s current training process. 

Other examples of off-the-job training

While this varies from one employer to the next, below are some activities which could count towards the 20% requirement:

  • ACA Courses 
  • Mentoring
  • Tuition provider skills days
  • Learning (eg. IT systems and software etc.)
  • Online learning
  • Internal training
  • Induction to the role
  • ACA Students' Excel online course
  • ACA training file
  • ICAEW Ethics and Professional Scepticism training
  • Project report preparation and completion