Ravi and Anjali are graduates from the same university who’ve been hired by competing organizations in the EdTech industry.
Ravi’s apprenticeship involves a hectic work routine with no room for off-the-job training facilities. Whatever Ravi needs to learn in order to optimize his performance he has to pick up by observing his seniors or through self-improvement reading that he does at home in his free time. Anjali, on the other hand, receives one full day’s worth of off-the-job training every week, which counts as part of her working hours. This not only allows Anjali to thoroughly grasp the concepts, frameworks and responsibilities that are integral to her role but also gives her the chance to learn in an organized environment with the help and guidance of experts and senior professionals from the industry.
A year later, who do you think has developed faster and learned more about their role and performance requirements? The merits of off-the-job training cannot be overlooked if an organization is concerned about growth, nurturing talent and ensuring employee satisfaction.
What Is Off-The-Job Training?
While its importance may be evident, the meaning of off-the-job training is often misunderstood in professional sectors. Many wrongly assume that off-the-job training involves exercises that lead to general professional growth, and this kind of training isn’t always connected with one’s role in an organization. Another misconception is that off-the-job training necessarily takes place outside working hours.
Technically, off-the-job training is a form of supplementary learning that usually takes place away from the actual workplace but counts as a part of an employee’s working hours. Most apprenticeship packages include a comprehensive off-the-job training program that allows new recruits to better understand the skills, tools and techniques they’re expected to pick up so they can execute the responsibilities expected in their role.
In fact, off-the-job training must have a direct connection with the professional responsibilities of an apprentice to be meaningful and rewarding.
Apprentices at most organizations are expected to spend 20% of their contracted working hours undertaking off-the-job training.
This means that their time might be roughly broken down as follows:
5 x 7 working hours in a day = 35 working hours in a week
52 working weeks in a year x 35 working hours = 1,820 total working hours in a year
20% off-the-job training requirement of the 1,820 hours = 364 hours dedicated to off-the-job training over the course of the apprenticeship
It’s important to note that any voluntary or compulsory learning that apprentices may undertake outside their regular working hours for better performance doesn’t count as examples of off-the-job training.
Off-the-job training has been recommended by several institutions to ensure that apprentices are actively learning and picking up the required knowledge and skills within their sector while enrolled in their placement program.
Why Is Off-The-Job Training Included As Part Of Working Hours?
As an apprenticeship is primarily a work-based program, any additional training must be included within the contracted working hours. Governments and organizations have acknowledged that it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect an apprentice to undertake additional training that’s a part of their apprenticeship on their own time.
If training must take place outside working hours, it should be recognized by the employer or training provider and the apprentice compensated for it. For example, if an apprentice is scheduled to attend a two-hour lecture as part of their off-the-job training after working hours, then they should be allowed to start work two hours later than usual or get off work two hours early on the day of the lecture.
Why Off-The-Job Training Matters
Since this kind of training module requires a certain amount of commitment from both the organization and the participants, it’s important to be clear why it matters. Off-the-job training is crucial because it helps apprentices to:
Better understand their role and expectations
Increase their knowledge base in their sector
Develop better networking skills and connections
Rectify their mistakes by applying the learnings from the off-the-job training
Evaluate their progress and performance in relation to the standards explained in an off-the-job training program
Now that we know the reasons why an organization should arrange for off-the-job training for their employees, let us understand the steps that an organization must take before rolling out the program.
How To Prepare For Off-The-Job Training
Off-the-job training cannot be successful unless an apprentice is backed by their organization. To make the necessary preparations, apprentices and organizations must take the following steps:
Organizations must provide a clear commitment statement explaining how many hours of off-the-job training an apprentice is supposed to attend
Organizations should offer a tentative outline of what aspects will be covered by the off-the-job training program
Apprentice timesheets, training logs, registers, etc. must be maintained properly to track the progress and completion of the off-the-job training program
Apprentices should not take off-the-job training casually or undermine their actual workflow just because they’re participating in a training program
Apprentices should self-evaluate and try to identify the skills they need the most from a particular program. This will help them make the best of this training opportunity
Timings for off-the-job training should be carefully arranged so that the apprentice’s professional responsibilities are not compromised
What Is Off-the-Job Training Method And What Does It Include?
To understand some examples of off-the-job training, let us look at the methods that are typically used to deliver this kind of training:
Lectures And Discussions
These are generally organized in a classroom or discussion format where industry experts and/or faculty from leading institutes conduct sessions on theory, job requirements, skills progression, etc. The format is meant to encourage two-way communication so that apprentices can ask questions, clear doubts and engage in a dialogue. The idea is to provide apprentices with theoretical insights and knowledge about the core issues of their sector. There may be follow-up assessments after the sessions are completed.
This method of off-the-job training is especially helpful for employees in a customer-facing role. Also known as socio-drama or psycho-drama, this involves apprentices tackling a situation where they have to manage and persuade angry customers. Role-playing doesn’t give apprentices any preparation time, because the point of this exercise is to see how well they cope on the spot. Role-playing is one of the most popular components of off-the-job training as it invokes a sense of drama and excitement that other components generally don’t. Research has shown that apprentices often learn the most from role-playing as it makes them deal with scenarios they’re most likely to face on the job.
Simulation sessions are used for the practical implementation of the theoretical lessons. Apprentices are provided tools or equipment that they are expected to handle as part of their job so that they can optimize their handling. Software simulation is also a part of this kind of training. The point of simulation is to familiarize apprentices with the objects they have to work with and enhance their application skills. Simulation comes in handy for visualization techniques as well as long-term planning.
What is off-the-job training without management games? Similar to role-playing in the sense that these too involve real-life scenarios, management games also incorporate theory and teamwork. Slotted for the final weeks of an off-the-job training program, management games are meant to summarize key takeaways for the participants in a fun and accessible manner.
Case Studies And Hypothetical Scenarios
One of the most insightful methods of delivering off-the-job training involves case studies. These include well-described examples of actual or hypothetical situations that apprentices must decode and learn from. A standard case study achieves three things: informs apprentices of industry standards and best practices in their profession; makes apprentices aware of how crises emerge and can be tackled; allows scope for original thinking among apprentices by mirroring real-life scenarios. Most case studies are undertaken as part of group assignments, which also makes them a great way of boosting team spirit and ensuring distribution of responsibilities.
While off-the-job training is a crucial component of organizational growth, it involves a complex and rigorous process that takes time and expertise to put in place. Organizations can’t carry out off-the-job training unless they’re trained in it. This is where specialized programs like Harappa's 10 on 10 Program can play a vital role in helping organizations to:
Tap into the potential of apprentices and deliver peak performance
Conceive, design and implement the ideal off-the-job training routine
Understand the different formats of off-the-job training programs
Activate, cultivate and elevate the work culture
Drive high-performance behaviors at scale
A number of esteemed organizations like Mahindra, Infosys, ITC Limited, etc. have already benefited from the 10 on 10 program. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to do the same for your organization by signing up today!
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