Off-the-job training - minimum 20%

Understanding the 20% rules

In all cases the employer should sign an apprentice commitment statement with the apprentice and the provider. The subject of training time should be covered in the apprentice commitment statement which must include the planned schedule for training and how to resolve any queries or complaints.

It will also cover the type of training the individual will receive along with the elements that make up that training. Records should be kept by the provider to ensure that adequate time is allowed for the training need and this is a key component of the commitment statement.

One of the most common complaints from apprentices is that the 20% undertaking is not operated correctly.

Union learning reps can support apprentices by checking that the 20% time is being properly recorded in accordance with the commitment statement and that the statement itself is consistent with these guidelines:

  • The 20% training time is a minimum that should be provided

  • The 20% training time is defined as learning that takes place outside the normal day to day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship

  • The training provider must keep a record of all off the job training for audit purposes

  • The format, timing and location of off the job training is negotiable. This negotiation is between the employer and the provider

  • The training or learning during this time must be aimed at developing skills, knowledge or behaviours relevant to the apprenticeship being undertaken

  • Time for english and maths support is additional to the 20% time

  • Other normal departmental training is additional to the 20% time

  • Apprentices on alternative working patterns are still entitled to the minimum 20% training time. This can be on a pro-rata basis but time must be allocated sufficiently to enable the training to adequately take place

  • An apprenticeship is a type of employment and training time should be paid time.

PCS has an apprentice questionnaire that you can use as a discussion tool with your individual apprentices to find out how well their apprenticeship is operating. Please contact your Regional Learning Organiser if you do not have a copy of this.

As a ULR you may find it useful to keep a reference note from the experiences of your apprentices as to what should and should not be included within the 20% time allocation and take these issues up with your employer as necessary. Listed below are a few items that you may refer to. Please feel free to add your own to the list.

20% time checklist

Learning could include:

  • Blended learning can be appropriate

  • Classroom based learning

  • Practice activities, e.g. site visits, shadowing, seeing how another part of the organisation works

  • The training must be in paid time.

What’s not allowed:

  • It can’t just be 100% online

  • Normal progress reviews and assessments in line with personal development can’t be counted

  • English and maths are not counted, other funding covers this need.

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