Off the Job Training
Goodbye 20% OTJ (sort of). A cornerstone of the apprenticeship reforms was the need for apprentices to spend 20% of their working time on their apprenticeship programme. After years of complaints the ESFA have finally changed this.
There was a feeling that a learner working 40 hours per week would be disadvantaged compared to a learner working 30 hours, as their 20% minimum threshold would be much higher. Now the ESFA have confirmed that apprentices will need to complete 6 hours for each week on programme. This is so much simpler than the existing calculation.
The ESFA have also provided a template for tracking off the job hours. This reaffirms the need for providers to ensure that all recorded OTJ hours are directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard, teaches new knowledge skills and behaviours, and takes place in the apprentice’s normal working hours.
Also goodbye to the Commitment Statement. Renamed the ‘Training Plan’.
Initial look suggests that all the details will remain the same, just a name change.
Initial assessment requirements are now stricter. For some time, the ESFA had implied that skills scans were required, but they’d never explicitly stated it. Now they have confirmed that skills scans are mandatory.
They also expect ‘diagnostic testing of occupational competence’. We’ll get further clarity on this from the ESFA and provide an update to our customers as soon as possible.
Providers are also expected to provide evidence of a discussion with the learner and employer to ensure that the training plan is tailored to the individual and aligns with the needs of the employer.
This is another area where the ESFA are becoming stricter. Previously, the ESFA expected providers to make a reduction in duration and price when a learner had prior learning. How this was done was left to the discretion of the provider. But now the ESFA have given a formula that must be used by all providers to reduce the price for prior learning.
For many of us with a background in FE it does feel as if we are going round in circles…Once again, Progress Reviews must be completed every 8-12 weeks.
There is also a requirement to discuss and update the training plan during progress reviews to ensure that the plan is up to date and the learner’s progress is being tracked against it.
Previously, where a provider and employer agreed a price above the maximum funding band the full price had to be recorded in the ILR and the provider had to provide evidence of collecting the employer contribution for the difference. Now, the ESFA only want the funding band maximum to be recorded in the ILR. Anything agreed above the funding band the ESFA aren’t interested in and will expect employers & providers to handle themselves.
For now, that’s the highlights! There’s certainly more than this, but this brief article is intended to pull out the most impactful amends.
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