Degree apprenticeships are first and foremost a job, with work-based learning included.
Unlike traditional degree placements where the workplace is just a place to apply knowledge, the workplace is a main site for learning and development. Higher apprentices spend most of their time learning in the workplace, but must spend a minimum of 20% of their contracted hours completing off-the-job training.
This 20% off-the-job training requirement is mandatory, but can include any learning that takes place out of the apprentice’s normal working duties – like lectures, online learning and industry visits.
Employers and HEIs need to work together to decide how the 20% minimum requirement will be met, and they need to agree this with the apprentice in the commitment statement. The commitment statement should also include how off-the-job will be delivered and what evidence will be recorded. The ESFA have said they’d prefer to see naturally occurring evidence where possible.
Recording off-the-job hours
The 20% off-the-job requirement will be assessed in the ESFA audit, so it must be tracked and recorded. As the off-the-job requirement is time-based, apprentices need to record exactly how much time they’re spending off the job. They should also record what training has taken place, how it meets criteria in the apprenticeship standard, and upload supporting evidence.
Tracking hours against the 20% requirement
Off-the-job training needs to be properly recorded, evidenced and tracked for the apprentice to complete their course – but as off-the-job training can take place in a range of times and locations, it can be tricky to track.
Built-in off-the-job training tracker
Our apprenticeship software is already used by over 30 higher education providers to deliver apprenticeships. OneFile has a built-in off-the-job training tracker that’s easy to use on the go. Apprentices can use any device to record how long they spend training, where the training took place, and record evidence.
OneFile then calculates the apprentice’s off-the-job entries against their contracted hours and displays their progress as a percentage against the 20% minimum requirement. It means apprentices, employers and tutors have full visibility of progress towards the 20%.
Tutors and employers can also see what activities have been completed, map evidence to criteria, and support apprentices wherever they are. All this information is available at the touch of a button – which is great for audits and inspections. It’s off-the-job tracking made easy.
Terry Smith, head of internal quality assurance, Aspire Education Academy