Clair Ayling

Apprenticeships Reduction in weeks for RPL


I am getting myself in a muddle over the calculation of reduction in weeks for RPL for Apprenticeships in 22/23 where the guidance says after RPL the reduction of off-the-job training hours must translate to a reduction in duration. 

Does someone have a calculation they could share? 




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Ruth Canham-James

We wouldn't have a standard calculation, it depends. See my comments here.

This whole bit contradicts itself;

P25.4.1 The reduction of off-the-job training hours must translate to a reduction in duration and in the total negotiated price. (If you cannot reduce the duration, you must still meet the minimum requirements of the off-the-job training policy for the full duration of the apprenticeship that you have reported to us in the ILR).

It says you must reduce duration, then tells you what to do when you can't. 

I think broadly, if you think they don't need 20% of the OTJ delivery based on RPL, reduce the duration by about 20%. There can be really good reasons why you don't though, so just document all your reasons clearly.

What I would say though is, if the normal duration for that Standard is just 14 months, and you think you don't need to deliver 35% of the OTJ because of RPL, that would take you below the minimum 1 year duration. You must not artificially keep the duration above 12 months just to make it a valid apprenticeship. You cannot claim funding for that apprenticeship for that person.

Clair Ayling

Thanks Ruth, yes that paragraph saying "must" and then if you cannot definitely threw me. Also when looking at weeks we calculate on entire duration but when calculating hours we look at weeks excluding leave entitlement so if we reduce content that translates differently to duration as opposed to otj weeks... my brain is fried and that is before even thinking about part-time.


Clair Ayling

Also, another thought if the leaner has RPL but your don't reduce duration but do have to reduce price, the entry on thr Apprenticeship Service would be no reduction in weeks but £x in reduced price?

Clair Ayling

Thanks, Ben, I am reassured :-)

Ben James

Huh, weird.. my comment has gone. In any case.. I had originally said 'yes', that's how I imagine it will work.

It is slightly confusing though, and I think there's possibly a question around what they mean by 'duration' (which I know sounds silly, but here me out). Lets say your RPL process (e.g., Skills Scan) identifies that an apprentice is not going to need K1, S4, S10, and B2. The expectation is that there are a given number of hours/weeks associated with the delivery of these as part of their academic learning (which you'd need a steer from your tutors on, I would imagine) that they're now not going to need because they are already occupationally competent in them. Let's say this amounts to approximately 8 weeks, and the full 'duration' is usually 100 weeks.

If you say to the learner that they don't need to do those 8 weeks worth of KSBs, but you keep the expected end date the same because they're not exempt from the final module, has the 'duration' been reduced? The number of 'learning weeks' has, but the number of weeks between the start date/expected end date has not - therefore is the 'duration' reduction in the Apprenticeship Service 8, or 0? Would be interesting to hear people's thoughts! 

Clair Ayling

It is not very clear! And from the RPL guidance it would suggest that the OTJ would not be reduced...

There may be circumstances where content of the training programme is not needed, but it is impractical to reduce the overall duration of the apprenticeship, for example because the apprentice is learning alongside other apprentices who stillneed that off-the-job training content. If the overall duration is not reduced the programme must still meet the minimum requirements of the off-the-job-trainingpolicy (for the full apprenticeship programme’s duration) and the minimum duration of the funded apprenticeship. If the employer and apprentice agree that they should not attend the unfunded elements of the programme, the apprentice must remain involved in active learning, as required by the funding rules.


Yes, this is definitely a misunderstanding of how it all works by ESFA. If the module they don't need to do is in the middle of the programme, you can't suddenly rejig it all for one learner... You can reduce the cost and hours without the duration changing (given, I'm assuming, that most programmes have been set up for 35-ish hours a week, as that's been the [ahem] standard for the last five years...)

Ruth Canham-James

Yes, if you reduce price but not duration, you still have to do the full 20% OTJ you would have done without the RPL, but for less money. That's just the way it is. Seems weird when you reduced the price specifically because there was a % of OTJ that you don't need to do. I guess you just spend more OTJ time on the KSB that do need covering. I suspect those will be reasonably rare, and be small price reductions, so not a huge issue as far as we're concerned.


Stretch and Challenge ;)

Andrew Dickens

Another way of looking at it I guess,  is that they may be thinking providers who built their programmes on 20% otj based on a learner working (for example) 40 hours a week are not going to suddenly rewrite and reduce the content of their Schemes of work to cap it at a maximum of 6 hours per week average.  Therefore any reduction in RPL should keep you above the minimum duration period and in line with new OTJ requirements....Certainly going to be interesting though.



Was discussing this earlier and, given the funding bands haven't, in general, increased over the last five years but EVERYTHING ELSE has, there's an economic argument (ie so you don't go bust!) for reducing the hours if you can maintain the quality...

Christine Gregory

I was going to post a new question, but it is in relation to the above - my question is where you have a standard which is typically 12 months, you can't reduce the duration and OTJ hours need to be 278 to meet the requirement of 6 hours per week.  If a learner was to have some knowledge of a couple of the KSB and therefore you need to reduce hours and use the calculation of % of OTJH to reduce the price, you can't reduce the hours to reflect this otherwise they won't meet the minimum OTJ requirement, so what would you do in this situation?  Sorry, that might not be clear :)

Tracy Clement

Make the programme 13 months to give you some room to manoeuvre.


Ruth Canham-James

Christine Gregory If the RPL would normally result in a duration reduction that would take them below the minimum year, you have to consider whether it's a valid apprenticeship anymore. You're not supposed to artificially keep the duration over a year to meet that rule. However, that's a really grey area, since we don't have to reduce durations because of RPL. Also, durations can change from student to student for all sorts of reasons, we don't have to have all out non-RPL apprentices on the exact same duration for the same Standard. My thoughts are, if there's a specific reason for keeping the normal duration, such as a pattern of whole class lessons, you can get away with it. If you are only not reducing the duration because it would take them under a year, you'd have to think about how you'd justify that to an auditor. It's frustrating, because on an apprenticeship that's usually two years, you can have quite a lot of RPL and it still be worthwhile and fundable with a price reduction, but with shorter apprenticeships, you can be in a position where almost every student with even a little RPL becomes invalid. For us, most of our shortest apprenticeships are the kind done by the youngest apprentices or those with the least experience, so there's rarely much RPL. Like Tracy suggested, if all your programmes have a standard length of at least 13 months, it gives you a buffer.

Alison Robinson

I am looking for guidance please. 

We are a training provider who deliver apprenticeships 1 to 1 (no classroom delivery).

We have developed a new skills scan to show reduction in costs and hours for RPL. Some apprentices are only showing as needing 5% reduction which equates to less than 30 hours delivery. How are people adjusting planned end dates for such small reductions?