With changes to advice to keep us safe changing daily, it highlighted to me just how difficult things are, and will get, in the coming days – these really are unprecedented times. With that in mind, I hope you are all keeping well personally, as families and as businesses.
At CITB we are focused on skills and training and during this time we will be doing all we can to support the industry to protect those skills for when things return to normal, hopefully in the not too distant future.
We have been both implementing existing plans and putting in place new ones to keep our business running during this period – doing our best to ensure that grant payments continue and that we maintain delivery of our essential products and services. Together with other industry bodies we will ensure that we provide our customers with regular updates on our supporting activity on a specific page dedicated to coronavirus on our website and on our social media platforms.
My Executive and Leadership Teams are actively gathering information from industry at this critical time. Initial analysis of the feedback to date is that CITB should focus its efforts on the following areas:
Support for apprentices – having provided support for apprentices in previous crisis situations and during Carillion’s collapse, we are assessing what practical support may be required now and in the coming weeks and months to ensure we secure the future for any impacted apprentices. There is no need for you to take any additional action on apprenticeships at this moment.
Signposting for employers – we are collaborating with federations and employer bodies to compile an agreed list of the best support agencies who are available to assist employers, their workers and supply chain with advice on staff issues, and other business support including sick pay. Once completed this will be circulated widely and be available on the dedicated website page and our social media platforms.
Guidance for keeping sites working – as we develop good practice for running sites in these conditions, we will publish Toolbox Talks and other learning materials that will help employers keep sites running during this pandemic.
Time bound qualifications and cards – card schemes are urging site managers to show appropriate lenience to those with cards expired from mid-March and have relaxed renewal windows. CITB has waived some of the fees for rescheduling or cancelling HS&E tests and for the duration of this crisis we will accept SSSTS and SMSTS renewals beyond expiry.
We remain committed to protect the construction industry as best we can and we are working closely with our industry partners and Government to make sure construction’s voice is heard and listened to at this extraordinary time. If you have any specific suggestions that you don’t believe are covered by the above or areas that you believe should be top priority please let me know or another CITB representative.
Wishing you well at this tough time,