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16 October 2014
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Time off for study

Left school recently with few or no qualifications? Feel you’re in a dead-end job? Want to get on in life?

From September 1999 a new law gave some young people the right to time off work to get qualifications to improve their job prospects.

Does this mean me?

If you :

  • are 16 or 17 years old
  • are employed
  • are not going to school or college full-time
  • have not already got a qualification at ‘Level 2’

you are entitled to reasonable paid time off during normal working hours to study or train for a ‘Level 2’ qualification.

How much time off can I have?

The law says you can have ‘reasonable’ time off – but there is no fixed rule about what this means. It could mean day release to college or it could mean setting aside some time at work for private study.

What do I have to do?

Your first step is to talk to your employer. If you don’t want to do this yourself, get in touch with your local Careers Centre and ask them to approach your employer on your behalf.

What is a ‘Level 2’ qualification?

‘Level 2’ here means :

  • NVQ Level 2 or
  • Intermediate GNVQ or
  • BTEC First or
  • 5 GCSEs grades A-C or
  • Similar level qualification

This means that, as long as you haven’t already got one of these qualifications, you can try for one at this level at work.

The qualification you go for has to be one that will help you in your future career but it doesn’t always have to be one directly connected with the job you’re doing now.


One of the easiest ways to get a qualification at work is to go on a National Traineeship or Modern Apprenticeship. A training provider will organise things, for you and your employer, and help you get the qualification.

Your local Careers Centre can set this up for you.



Cymraeg (Welsh)


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