Off the Job Training – Think Win:Win

 In Apprenticeships

Next month will see the 1st anniversary of the Apprenticeship Levy – Now that has gone quickly! In the main it’s been a pretty smooth transition to the new funding model. The new apprenticeship standards are becoming available slowly – in most cases unbelievably slowly. However, this isn’t stopping our clients from investing in new apprenticeship recruits or in their current staff teams. After all, apprenticeships offer a highly individual, long-term training strategy for all employees. As it’s the first anniversary of the apprenticeship reforms, it’s also the first anniversary for Off the Job Training. When the reforms came in, the addition of 20% Off the Job Training was also added to the mix. Most training providers and employers were left scratching their heads thinking about it. That’s a day a week – purely for training.

The main reason the 20% Off the Job Training seemed unreasonable was because it was often discussed in the context of block release to a college or provider, where the employee headed off site once a week/four times a month to engage in training and development activities. To some industries and to some job roles, this isn’t unusual. However, to the vast majority of employers, this model isn’t sustainable or, should I dare say, rewarding.

Off the Job Training shouldn’t be a black hole. It could provide an advantage to all stakeholders and should be a win:win for everyone. It should give everyone an upper hand, or at minimum a hand up, and it can be natural and it should reward the staff member and the team quickly. It doesn’t need to be a chore and it shouldn’t be a block or act to dampen progression or improvement activities.

The rest of this blog looks at why Off the Job Training is important, how it can be achieved and what it can look and feel like.

Why Off the Job Training? (Think win:win)

  • It’s an opportunity to ask for more from your staff
  • It’s a mechanism, a way to share best practice across the organisation
  • To seek improvement to communication between departments and between levels with an organisation
  • To obtain a multi-skilled workforce thus protecting and managing knowledge, and better preparing staff and the business for change
  • For staff to reflect on their skills, knowledge and behaviour/practice, and ultimately make positive decisions to improve
  • It’s actually provides really interesting CPD and it’s a great demonstration of your investment in your organisation.
  • More energy, more accountability, more responsibility, more action.

How do you implement great Off the Job Training? (Start with the end goal in mind)

Where do you want to see improvement: across the organisation or within a particular department?

This is the place to start. If there no reward for the business or the team, there’s going to be little reward for the employee too. Afterall, each and everyone of us wants to be productive and to make an impact.

How could the following Off the Job Training activities help with improvements across your team/organisation?:

  • Shadowing experienced and performing staff
  • Mentoring for new, inexperienced or underperforming staff
  • Internally-led training including 1-2-1 and in small group
  • Externally-led training where expertise in-house is lacking or certification is required
  • Job swaps where staff are performing well in their current role
  • Short and extended off-site visits to suppliers, clients and satellite sites to (a) develop new skills and practices to bring back to the business and (b) gain alternative perspective on supply chain processes.
  • Networking events and conferences
  • Protected time away from the day to day activities to focus on research and personal and professional development.
  • Opportunity to work on projects outside of current role within or outside of current department.

What’s changed? Recording the impact of Off the Job Training:

  • Set simple KPIs that will let you know whether the Off the Job Training is having an impact
  • The simplest way is to measure an individual/team prior to the Off the Job Training taking place and rescore again during and at the end of the Off the Job Training. What distance has been travelled?
  • Identify gaps that the team has and reevaluate after each round of Off the Job Training to measure whether the gaps in knowledge, skill or practice have been filled.
  • Give responsibility to the individual undergoing the Off the Job Training. How are they measuring the impact in their lives and in their role? What impact has the Off the Job Training had on them and their role? Carry out interviews during and on exit to give the employee opportunity to link the new experiences to the project aims and objectives.
  • Ask the individual to create a reflective log of their Off the Job Training; great for their CPD and a good discussion tool to measure success. We use a system called OneFile Nomad to record our learner’s journey including their Off the Job Training. It’s simple and effective – What have you done? Why did you do it? What have you gained? What will you do next?

Off the Job Training has to be a win:win; both employee and employer gaining vital information that will help them both make better decisions and take appropriate action, and ultimately become better at work. If the Off the Job Training is linked to clear outcomes and objectives then the measure of its success will also be straightforward, empowered staff, bringing energy and momentum to the team and organisation, and harnessing the thinking-ability of the whole organisation to find excellent solutions to challenges.

Why not get in contact with us and we can help you plan and implement your teams training.

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