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Mark Farrar took over as Chief Executive of CITB, the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board responsible for the UK construction industry, in 2008.
Previously Corporate Services Director at CITB - Mark managed the levy and grants system, working with industry-led committees to provide in excess of £100m funding to improve skills and training in the sector.
Following an early career in the Royal Navy, Mark trained as a Chartered Accountant before moving into the Financial Services Sector where he held senior positions in Barclays Bank and Norwich Union.
In 2000 he moved to Cefas, a Government owned science and environmental research body, where he was promoted to Chief Executive and lead a major restructuring in 2004.
Mark is often called upon to represent the voice of industry and at the height of the economic downturn he was invited to 10 Downing Street to represent construction in the Prime Minister’s crisis talks to protect employment and skills.
During his time with CITB, Mark has secured significant funding for the industry from various government sources – delivering support for apprenticeships and the development of skills associated with the Green Deal amongst other matters.
Mark is a Trustee of the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE), a member of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) Advisory Board and sits on the Board of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils. He is also a member of the Skills Sub Group to the Green Construction Board and has previously held positions on the Board of Women into Science, Engineering and Construction (WISE) and The Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Public Sector Advisory Panel
Director of Employer Services
Mike Bialyj is the Employer Services Director at CITB and was previously the Welsh National Manager. A business graduate, he was originally apprenticed and worked in the construction industry and also worked at the former South Glamorgan Training and Enterprise Council as a Business Development Manager.
Mike formerly Chaired the Skills for Business Network in Wales, and was Vice Chairman of Neath Port Talbot College and a former Director of Constructing Excellence in Wales.
The Employer Services Directorate is responsible for delivering construction apprenticeships across Great Britain and is graded as outstanding by Ofsted in England. It is also responsible for promoting training, giving advice and guidance to companies and engaging stakeholders throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The Directorate is also responsible for recruitment and support for the Specialists sectors.
Director of Business Services
Colin Evans is currently Business Services Director at CITB, a post he has held since January 2010. Immediately prior to this he spent 4 years working for National Grid as General Manager of its UK Industrial & Commercial Metering and related businesses.
Colin started his career at 16 as an Engineering Apprentice (EITB approved scheme) with Land Rover and 7 years later joined Shell International as a research student at Cambridge. He stayed with Shell for 13 years and progressed from technical into managerial roles including:- HGV fleet servicing, retail forecourt operations and convenience stores.He moved to Wickes and was Director of International Development (setting up retail franchises) and then 3 years as Director of Retail & Distribution in the UK.
More recently Colin held senior positions at Surrey County Council, G4S and Nuffield Health with strong themes around customer engagement, efficiency, synergy and IT systemisation. At G4S he was responsible for setting up an ATM maintenance business, and at Nuffield for ‘turning-around’ a 43 clinic Health Screening business, then helping to merge it with a similar scale Physiotherapy operation and a Gymnasium chain acquisition to form a new ‘pro-active health’ division.
Director of Skills Strategy
Steve Geary is currently the Skills Strategy Director at CITB, a post that he has held since September 2007. Prior to joining CITB, he worked for the Civil Service. His previous post was as the Director for Children and Learners at the Government Office for the East Midlands and before that worked as a Deputy Director in roles covering the development of employer led Higher Education (including Foundation Degrees), and in developing the Connexion Service from the former Careers Services in England.
Steve has held posts at both local and regional level ranging from the North East where he was the Director for Skills and Enterprise, to work in Jobcentres and Area offices of the Training Agency.
He has also worked at national level, including working for Ministers (at 10 Downing Street in the early 80s and in the late 70s for the Secretary of State for Employment), two spells working at the Health and Safety Commission, and on policy / delivery taking forward the promotion of tourism and also technical and vocational education initiatives.
Director of National Construction College
Andy has been a Director of National Construction College, Training Division of CITB since August 2008. He is responsible for all the functionality of the College, together with its mission, strategic direction, resources and profitability. He leads a team of 272 people controlling a budget in excess of £20m.
From 2004-2008 Andy was Commercial Manager for National Construction College and was responsible for the effective day to day management of the Commercial Department with the remit to drive income and maximise the profitability of the National Construction College.
Andy started his career undertaking a variety of commercial and marketing roles within the Leisure and Hospitality industry, and has worked for Allied Domecq Inns and Whitbread.
Andy is also Chair of the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Leadership Group, Safeguarding Leadership Group and Health and Safety Leadership Group.
Director of Corporate Services
Sarah has been interim Corporate Services Director since late 2012. Sarah is responsible for in excess of 400 people who provide key functions, including internal business support and external facing customer service departments. These include Legal and Procurement Services, Information Systems, Corporate Governance, Finance and Assurance departments, as well as the Levy and Grant teams and a Shared Service function for customer services.
Sarah is currently leading on a major transformational change programme that aims to modernise our customer offering and improve the overall customer experience.
Sarah has been employed at CITB for 8 years and has occupied a number of roles, including Head of Finance and Planning and also a National Experienced Worker Assessment Manger, responsible for managing a team of mobile staff members who provided advice and support in relational to on-site assessment methods to obtain construction qualifications. Most recently Sarah was Head of Shared Services and was responsible for 300 staff members providing a customer services function.
Sarah’s career before CITB has been centred on Accountancy and people management, including serving 4 years within small accountancy practices, a two year period with a Housing Association and 3 years with a manufacturing company.
Director of Communications and Change
Nicola Thompson become Director of Communications and Change at CITB in January 2009. She is accountable for 3 Departments: Strategy and Change, HR and Communications and Marketing and has recently led a major HR change project and supported other transformational change including to the strategy and planning process.
From 2006-2009 Nicola was Communications and Marketing Director at CITB and was responsible for establishing a one stop shop for marketing campaigns, media relations, stakeholder management, digital services, internal communications and brand management. Before that she managed campaigns in the organisation as the Head of Corporate Communications (2003-2006).
Nicola started her career undertaking a variety of communications roles in local government, working to manage the reputation of West Norfolk Council (2000-2003), marketing the city of Leeds as a business location for Leeds Development Agency (1994-2000) and running road safety campaigns for Leeds City Council (1991-1994).
Nicola is Chair of the Joint Consultative Committee with the trade unions and is also on the Board of Trustees of Skills Third Sector.