COVID-19: Information for short course participants

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Joining us at CAT

To support everyone’s safety and wellbeing, we have made a few changes to the way we deliver our courses.

These changes support 2m social distancing and increased hygiene measures whilst allowing you to make the most of your time gaining new skills and knowledge with CAT’s expert tutors.

What to expect when you come to CAT

We have put in place a range of measures to support everyone’s safety and wellbeing.

Key measures include:

  • Support for 2m distancing through reduced occupancy of study rooms, bedrooms and café spaces, with staggered breaks and mealtimes for larger groups.
  • Enhanced cleaning and hygiene arrangements, including regular cleaning of communal spaces and touchpoints, and provision of hand sanitiser stations.
  • Bedrooms are single occupancy only.
  • Face coverings are required for indoor settings except in specific circumstances.

Visitors must not come to CAT if they have had COVID-19 symptoms in the previous two weeks, or if they have been in contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms during this time.

All of our plans are subject to alteration should government guidelines be updated or the situation change.

More detailed information on these and other measures can be found below in our FAQ section.

Visit Wales. Safely.

Whilst travelling within Wales and whilst at CAT all short course participants must follow Welsh Government guidelines aimed at keeping you and others safe. Please note that these guidelines may be different from those in place elsewhere in the UK.

Your contact information may be shared with NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect if required within 21 days of your visit to CAT.

All of our plans are subject to alteration should government guidelines be updated or the situation change.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone back to CAT for hands-on learning in sustainable solutions.

If you have any queries, please get in touch.


Joining CAT short courses - COVID-19 measures

When will your on-site short courses be starting again, and what will be the key changes?

Our short courses programme started again on 21 May,  while our visitor centre reopened to pre-booked visits on 22 May.

Key measures to support everyone’s safety and wellbeing include single occupancy bedrooms, reduced occupancy teaching and eating spaces, and one-way entries and exits where possible. We’ve also increased the frequency of cleaning shared spaces. 

We will need your help in protecting other participants, staff and the local community while you’re with us at CAT. This includes following Welsh Government guidelines, respecting 2m distancing rules, wearing face coverings when indoors (with a few exceptions), and regularly washing your hands.

If you have been shielding due to being in a vulnerable category for COVID-19, please inform us of this when booking.

You’ll find more information on these measures in the FAQs below.

Are any courses not running?

All of our courses are being adapted to allow for social distancing.

How is CAT supporting 2m distancing on its short courses?

Accommodation is single occupancy only (see accommodation FAQ), and the cafe serves food in specified locations, with staggered meal and break times for larger groups (see cafe FAQ).

Teaching spaces are number limited, with changes to timetables to support this.

Where possible we have separate entry and exit routes to help to reduce crossover of participants. These are clearly marked.

All indoor teaching, cafe and accommodation spaces are well ventilated, and we are making the most of our outdoor teaching and eating spaces, including adding additional covered spaces as needed.

We ask all participants to please be patient with others and follow the 2m social distancing rule at all times whilst on site.

How will practical activities be run ensuring social distancing?

We believe in learning through doing, and practical sessions are an important part of many of our short courses.

We aim to keep the practical activities as interactive as possible whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of participants and staff. 

We have put in place measures to support 2m distancing during indoor and outdoor sessions. This means adapting some practical activities.

What cleaning and hygiene arrangements will be in place during short courses?

Teaching spaces are thoroughly cleaned prior to each course and during breaks. 

Communal toilets, spaces and touch points are cleaned regularly during the day. 

Hand sanitising stations are also available around the CAT site.

We ask everyone to help protect themselves and others through regular handwashing.

What’s your policy on face masks?

When indoors at CAT all customer-facing staff and course participants are required to wear face coverings or masks – please ensure that you bring a suitable face covering with you. 

The exceptions to this rule are:

  • When alone in a room or bedroom;
  • Eating and drinking in the café – people will be seated at a suitable distance from one another (when in the café but not eating or drinking masks must be worn);
  • Staff delivering presentations – presenters will be at a greater than 2m distance;
  • Where individuals have medical exemption.

When outdoors, face coverings are optional, unless you are engaged in a teaching activity in which the risk assessment dictates that you wear face coverings or PPE for safe working. Your tutor will advise you of these situations in advance of the activity.

What accommodation is on offer?

We have opened up our WISE bedrooms, which all have en-suite toilets and showers, but we are operating these as single occupancy only rather than the usual shared rooms. 

This means we have a reduced amount of accommodation available.

Further details will be available on booking.

I won’t need accommodation, can I still attend?

Please get in touch if you would like to join a short course and don’t need to use CAT’s accommodation.

Because we need to carefully plan seating for socially distanced meals, short course participants staying elsewhere will still need to join us at CAT for breakfast, lunch and dinner, at a charge of £21 per day.

What happens if I have to cancel my course booking? What’s your refund policy?

If you need to cancel due to COVID you’ll be able to transfer credit to a future course.

For cancellation for other reasons, our standard Terms and Conditions will apply.

I will be travelling from outside Wales – are any additional measures in place?

If you are travelling from outside Wales but from within the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands), please note that Welsh Government guidelines may be different from those in your area. Please check the latest guidelines before planning your travel.

If you are travelling from outside the Common Travel Area, please note that additional restrictions may apply, or may be introduced during your stay. You may need to quarantine before coming to CAT. Please check the latest FCO foreign travel advice as well as Welsh Government guidelines before planning your travel.

What is the best way to travel to CAT for my short course?

If you are travelling by car, then it is recommended that you travel as an individual to maintain social distancing. We have adequate parking for you on site.

If you plan to travel by train or bus, please refer to the most recent Welsh Government guidelines on using public transport before planning your trip as restrictions may be in place at the time of travel. 

We’re only three miles from Machynlleth, with a Sustrans cycle route linking us to the town. The route is around 45-60 minutes on foot or 20-30 minutes by bike through the beautiful Mid Wales countryside, including a short section that crosses grazing lands.

What happens if someone becomes ill whilst at CAT?

Should a short course participant fall ill whilst here we would ask that arrangements are made to return home safely, avoiding public transport, and to enter self-isolation.  

Whilst arrangements are made the guest will be asked to remain isolated in their room, with food and other essentials being delivered to them safely. 

The room will remain unused for a minimum of 72 hours and then deep cleaned.

What if someone becomes ill after being at CAT? What provisions are in place?

Supporting the principle of ‘test and trace’, should a guest fall ill within a week of being on site, we ask you to contact us so that we can contact anyone who was on site at the same time, so that they can follow government guidelines on self-isolation and testing.

Please note that in these circumstances we will not divulge any names or details of individuals in our communications with course participants.

Participants’ contact information may also be shared with NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect if required within 21 days of your visit. Please see our Privacy Notice for details.

How does the cafe operate?

All course participants receive food through CAT catering. This enables CAT to operate the café using social distancing rules.

For details on on what meals are provided see the description of the course you wish to attend.

If numbers are such that we can’t maintain physical distancing in the dining area, participants are split into groups with staggered meal times at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Catering staff and volunteers wear masks and aprons when preparing or serving food. Food is served at specified locations within the café area.

If you have any food allergies please notify us in advance, so we can make arrangements for you.

What will happen if the situation or government regulations change?

We are monitoring the situation daily, and all of the information on this page is subject to change based on government guidelines.

If Welsh Government guidance changes due to a worsening COVID environment, we may have to cancel courses. In these circumstances we will refund your course fees.

Is your visitor centre open as normal?

The CAT Visitors Centre is open to booked visits. We have made some changes to how our visitor centre operates. See our visitor centre pages for details.

Are you still offering online courses?

During lockdown we developed a popular new online version of our Zero Carbon Britain course. We continue to offer this course online and along with other new online courses.

We will also continue to offer free webinars on a wide variety of sustainability-related topics.