6 June 2019

CITB Chief Executive speaks at Build UK Forums

At the Build UK Forums in May, Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB, highlighted the progress that had been made against Vision 2020, whilst also recognising there was more to be done.

In 2017, 76% of industry voted to keep CITB, with a big BUT; significant reform.

The reform programme had seen success so far including:

  • Divesting products which didn’t support the core aims of CITB, such as CPCS
  • Reshuffling the Board to better represent the industry
  • Introducing three advisory Nations Councils, with significant SME representation
  • Delivering 78 Trailblazer standards through the Apprenticeship Working Group. Where it had taken months to get a standard approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education before, the CITB group had directly impacted on how quickly and easily employers had their Standards approved.

Sarah emphasised that even though major achievements had been made, this wasn’t without challenges along the way. Internal reorganisation of CITB had been more difficult than anticipated, and the new Grant Scheme was not quite meeting the needs of the industry.

To meet the industry, need of “Levy In, Skills Out”, CITB had agreed to fund training which would make a difference to skills shortages. In 2017, CITB had cut grant back too far, and later this year, will reintroduce Leadership and Management grant and associated Training Standards, after listening to industry feedback.

Training Directory and Communication

Sarah noted that there were two fundamental things that CITB still needed to get right; fixing the Training Directory and communicating better.

The Training Model was launched in April 2018, with the competence register available holding 12 million operatives’ training records. CITB continued to develop the Training Directory using employer feedback and in the last two months, the number of people using the directory had tripled. CITB has listened to industry and is updating the Training Directory to include bulk uploading, and is working to have the Directory working as it intended by January 2020.

CITB has recognised that they need to communicate better and from next month will send out a monthly dashboard, highlighting its achievements against its recently launched Business Plan.

With an additional 169,000 workers needed by 2023 – not taking into account Brexit, an ageing workforce, and other industries poaching talent – there is a lot to be done!

Sarah highlighted the “big six” areas of focus set out in the Business Plan:

  • A career destination – A new campaign will be launched in the summer, in a phased approach. The campaign will target specific groups, such as college trained craft students, who had not yet joined the industry, and focus on the highest areas of need first.
  • Site-ready workforce – Using the 26 hubs created using the Construction Skills Fund, 17,000 people will be provided with work experience opportunities. The hubs will also be expanded to provide similar opportunities in rural areas, and in Wales and Scotland.
  • Growing apprenticeships – Fewer craft apprenticeships are being delivered, and CITB will explore how SMEs could be incentivised to offer them.
  • Learners into workers – 45,000 students are on construction courses at college and only 14% find a job in the construction industry afterwards. CITB aims to bring 18,000 more people into the industry via this route.
  • Helping SMEs – The Skills and Training Fund will be expanded to support medium sized companies, in addition to the small companies which were already eligible for the funding. To ensure the fund is used to address genuine industry skills needs, repeat users would only be able to claim funding which addressed that industry need.
  • Assessors – A further 220 assessors will be sought in key occupations.

CITB will be consulting employees in the coming months before the start of the consensus process next year.

Sarah Beale’s full presentation is available here.