Learners on further education courses will resume face-to-face learning at the north west college from Wednesday, May 5, in subject areas which require practical ‘hands-on’ training, such as electrical installation, joinery, catering and sports studies.
Alongside the implementation of public health guidance to minimise the risk of Covid-19, further education colleges and training providers are introducing testing for Covid-19 for staff and students using Lateral Flow Devices as part of the Department of Health’s NI SMART programme for asymptomatic testing.
The Department is also working with non-statutory training providers to establish testing procedures that will support an early return of learners to those settings.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “I am pleased to announce today that more learners in a range of practical face-to-face subjects can resume onsite learning at FE colleges. This follows the resumption on Monday of onsite learning for those in close contact subjects. This is an important and positive step forward which will enable more than 16,800 learners to receive the training they need to complete practical work and assessments.”
NWRC will be the first of the six colleges in NI to bring back more students, with the others to follow suit later this week and next week.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I welcome the announcement of this resumption of some onsite learning at FE colleagues. This is a further example of partnership working between government and providers. Breaking the chain of Covid-19 transmission is critical to our battle with the pandemic as we continue to take cautious and incremental steps forward. Used in conjunction with handwashing, maintaining social distancing and using face masks, Lateral Flow asymptomatic testing can make a real difference.”
The colleges will welcome back learners in practical subject areas on the following dates:
North West Regional College – 5 May
South Eastern Regional College – 6 May
Belfast Met – 10 May
South West College – 10 May
Southern Regional College – 10 May
Northern Regional College – 10 May