The 100% Work-Based Apprenticeship Model

Whether you’re new to the world of apprenticeship training, or have been using it for some time, you may not be aware of some of the changes that have evolved over recent years, in particular, the increased flexibility in training options that some training providers can now deliver.

In this article, we focus on training delivery which is referred to as 100% work-based, or sometimes as remote delivery or blended delivery. So what exactly is apprenticeship training, how does the100% work-based model work and why should you consider it as an option for your apprentices?

What is apprenticeship training?

On an apprenticeship, the apprentice is employed to do a real job while completing off-the-job training, which must take up 20% of their total time on the apprenticeship. 

The ESFA defines this in the following way:

“It is training which is received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship referenced in the apprenticeship agreement. It is not on-the-job training which is training received by the apprentice for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. By this we mean training that does not specifically link to the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship.”

Apprentices need to evidence the time they have spent on training in order to achieve their qualification, so this is not something that can be sidestepped or left until the end of the apprenticeship. 

What are the different training delivery models?

There are three typical models that training providers offer for apprenticeship training. These are:

  • Block release
  • Day release
  • 100% work-based model

Block release refers to apprentices who spend all their time in the workplace, apart from blocks of several weeks where they would attend a college or training provider’s premises to complete training.

Day release refers to apprentices who typically spend four days a week in the workplace, and then attend a college or training provider site for one day a week. Others may just attend one day every two or four weeks.

In the 100% work-based model, the apprentice would not regularly attend classes at a college or training provider. All of the training is delivered in the workplace. This is a model that has been developed to provide employers and apprentices with greater flexibility.

How does it work?

Regardless of which training delivery model is used, apprentices must spend 20% of their apprenticeship completing off-the-job training. With day release and block release, some or most of this 20% is satisfied with the time the apprentice spends training at the college or training provider’s premises, in classes and workshops.

The 100% work-based model uses a blended approach of various types of training, including:

  • Face-to-face visits from a trainer in the workplace;
  • Remote visits from a trainer in the workplace, which could take place over the telephone or by video conferencing;
  • Webinars and other streamed learning sessions;
  • Discussion forums, Q&A sessions;
  • Online learning platforms, which allow the apprentice to work through activities, units or modules in their own time, with the use of documents, videos, links and interactive elements.

What else counts as off-the-job training?

Both the employer and the training provider are responsible for an apprentice’s training. Therefore, the off-the-job training of any apprenticeship can, and should, involve other elements not directly set as pieces of work by the training provider. Examples of training that an employer can provide and which would count towards the 20% off-the-job training element include:

  • Knowledge – The teaching of theory through lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning;
  • Practical training – shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and participation in competitions;
  • Learning support and time given to the apprentice for writing assessments / assignments.

So additional courses that the apprentice participates in, receiving tutoring or help from a more senior member of staff for exams or assignment work, observing internal or client meetings that the apprentice wouldn’t normally be involved in, and personal development sessions with a supervisor / manager, would all count as off-the-job training, provided that the activities expand the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are outlined in the relevant apprenticeship standard.

Why use it?

The 100% work-based training delivery model offers employers a number of benefits.

Firstly, it means that training does not get interrupted. The unprecedented events over the last few weeks have led to colleges and training providers having to stop all face-to-face classroom sessions. For many apprentices, this has meant that their training has fallen behind as they are not able to maintain the 20% off-the-job component of their apprenticeship. For apprentices on a 100% work-based model, they have been able to continue seamlessly, by engaging with the online resources they have already been using throughout their apprenticeship.

Secondly, it offers the apprentice and the employer greater flexibility. Training can be scheduled in when it is convenient and fits in best with the department’s activities. For example, accounting apprentices can avoid training at month-end, when they are busy with their day-to-day roles. This can be particularly useful where an employer or department has a number of apprentices on one cohort, so they are not all out of the office at the same time, attending classes.

Thirdly, this model preparers the apprentice for a more flexible and varying future of work, where lifelong learning and continuing professional develop will be crucial. Apprentices develop the skillset to continuously seek out learning opportunities for themselves, rather than relying on more traditional forms of training and workshops. This empowers the apprentice and stands them in good stead to continue to grow and learn throughout their careers, even when the apprenticeship is over.

How can I find a training provider which offers this model?

All colleges and training providers showcase which apprenticeships they offer on the government’s Find Apprenticeship Training website. Once you have selected what type of apprenticeship you want and your address, you can then filter down to those providers who offer the 100% work-based option at your location.

Damar Training offer a 100% work-based option on all of our apprenticeship standards – business admin, customer service, management, travel, medical, accounting and legal. Want to find out more? Email us at or give us a call on 0161 480 1871.