This Week's News 07.07.17

DfE publish long awaited off-the-job training guidance – but does it tell us any more? Your questions answered.

What off-the-job training for Apprentices are employers required to do under the new funding rules?

Provide off-the-job training for a minimum of 20% of an apprentice's normal working hours.

What does that equate to?

40 hour week = 8 hours per week off-the-job training
37 hour week = 7.5 hours (rounded up from 7.4)
35 hour week = 7 hours
30 hour week = 6 hours

What is meant by 'off-the-job-training'

According to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) off-the-job training is 'outside of normal working duties'. However, they acknowledge that it is possible to be undergoing training activities outside of normal working duties while being physically at the usual workstation. For example, being taught how to use straighteners. The ESFA defines off-the-job training as practical, work-based learning with technical and theoretical learning.

What can be counted towards the 20% off-the-job training rule?

Practical Training Teaching Theory Written Exercises
Practise on head blocks
Attendance at competitions
Industry visits
Work shadowing
Formal learning sessions
Manufacturer's training
Online learning
Role plays
Completion of written tasks
Revision for written tests

What can't be counted towards the 20%?

English and maths must be on top of the training requirement so that can't be counted, although the ESFA says: "employers are encouraged to help develop these skills in the workplace to consolidate learning. The ESFA also views training as being distinct from assessment.  That means, time spent on assessments can't be counted either.

How should these hours be recorded?

All apprentices have a Learning Log which can be used to record the hours they spend training in the salon and what was done.  ITS has always recorded how many hours have been spent on in-salon training when we make salon visits – the only change is that you need to make sure your apprentices record it in their Learning Log.

Who's going to check that Apprentices do the required amount of training?

The requirement for all apprenticeships to include a minimum number of hours for off-the-job training is included in the ESFA funding rules.  Compliance with this requirement will therefore be considered as part of normal audit arrangements for ITS and for partner salons.

Do ITS visits count towards the off-the-job training hours?

Yes - but we need to be careful that time spent on assessments, English and maths are not counted towards the total.

What if an apprentice does more hours in one week and less in another?

That is to be expected and is permitted.  The hours will be worked out ‘pro-rata' meaning that the hours will be calculated as a share of the total amount.  Across a 4 week period the off-the-job training hours might look like this:

Weekly Working Hours Off-the-job training hours required every 4 weeks Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Actual off-the-job training hours per month
40 32 8 5.5 8.5 10 32
37 30 7.5 8 7.5 7 30
35 28 6 7 7 8 28
30 24 6 6 6 6 24

Can the pro-rata off-the-job training hours be worked out across a longer period?

We want this new requirement to work for you so we will be as flexible as possible. Across a 3 month period, the total off-the-job training hours might look like this:

Weekly Working Hours Off-the-job training hours required per quarter Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Actual off-the-job training hours for 3 months
40 96 30 34 32 96
37 90 25 35 30 90
35 84 24 32 28 84
30 72 10 38 24 72

Over a 12 month period, the total off-the-job training hours might look like this:

Weekly Working Hours Off-the-job training hours required over 12 months Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Actual off-the-job training hours over 12 months
40 384 96 96 90 102 384
37 360 70 110 65 115 360
35 252 84 94 84 74 336
30 288 70 65 135 18 288

Read the guidance

Definition of SME – evidence requirements

As readers of this newsletter will know, small and micro businesses are not required to pay the apprenticeship levy and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will audit that you are eligible to classified as an SME. 

  • The ESFA defines the number of employees as the number of people with a contract of employment. This must be calculated using the average number of employees with a contract of employment 365 days before the Apprentice is recruited.
  • If the average number of employees is 49 and the recruitment of Apprentices takes this number to 50, the employer will still be classified as a non-levy paying employer.
  • Before an apprenticeship starts, ITS must have evidence that proves the employer is not required to pay the levy.
  • ITS must keep this evidence for audit purposes.

Top skills civil servant talks tough on apprenticeship reforms

Providers using delivery models that are "contrary to the spirit" of the apprenticeship reforms – such as using employers as subcontractors "to recoup costs" - will face consequences, Mr. Smith warned. The ESFA is "starting to get increasingly concerned about some of the delivery models that we're hearing about,” he admitted. "What we don't want to see is any provider trying to make an interpretation of what we're trying to do in the wrong way, which just means that model becomes noncompliant. Where a delivery model is non-compliant", he warned, "we will intervene - and ultimately that's going to mean that providers are removed not just from the register but potentially there'll be some wider consequences for them as well". "That's just contrary to everything we're trying to achieve here." Read more

New skills minister the fixer promises to listen and 'make it work'

The new skills minister has reassured the sector that her motivation in the role is "to make it work” rather than to introduce "new, bright ideas” Read Anne Milton's speech and Q&A in full

Team ITS warmly welcomes this learner who started her Apprenticeship this week

Hayley Young – Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship - Philip Hussey, Guildford


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