The government has confirmed that colleges and training providers can begin face-to-face contact with adult apprentices from 15 June, but reiterated that 16 to 19 apprentices should be “prioritised”.

In updated guidance published this afternoon, the Department for Education repeated their view that providers should include apprentices in their wider reopening plans alongside students on the first year of a two year 16 to 19 study programme.

They said the government supports offering face-to-face contact to any 16 to 19 apprentice, although training providers could offer this to “certain groups” such as those on the first year of an apprenticeship, those who require on-site training to help them complete their apprenticeship, or those who have upcoming “key assessment dates” and would “therefore particularly benefit from face-to-face training”.

The guidance added that although 16 to 19 apprentices should be “prioritised”, there “may be some apprenticeships that include apprentices within a classroom-based training environment that are over 19”.

Providers “can choose to allow” apprentices who are over 19 to attend, but “should continue to prioritise 16 to 19 apprentices”.

“If older apprentices attend on site delivery, the maximum number of 16 to 19 year olds attending on site at any one time must be reduced to ensure the setting remains within the overall limit.”

The guidance follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last week that plans for the wider reopening of schools, colleges and providers this month are moving forward after the government’s five tests for easing lockdown measures were being met.

Wider guidance for the reopening of FE settings was published on Friday and confirmed that from the week commencing 15 June, providers can broaden the number of 16 to 19 learners attending on-site delivery.

To help reduce the coronavirus transmission risk, the guidance asks that the number of FE learners attending at any one time is limited to a quarter of those on the first year of a two year 16 to 19 study programme.

Vulnerable young people and children of critical workers, within this cohort, are to be counted within the attendance limit. However, vulnerable young people and children of critical workers outside of this cohort who might already be in full-time attendance do not count towards the attendance limit and can continue attend.

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