As the impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry becomes ever more apparent, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is refreshing its Skills and Training Fund (STF) to provide more support for micro, small and medium sized businesses.
Since its launch by CITB in 2015, the STF has awarded over £21.6m to over 4,800 micro and small companies (under 100 employees), allowing them to access funding to provide training. Now CITB is increasing the amount of funding available and widening the scope of eligible training, so that companies with 100-250 employees are also eligible for funding.
“The new CITB Skills and Training Fund has been refreshed to become a wider, more flexible offer for employers,” says CITB chief executive Sarah Beale. “We have responded to the urgent COVID-19 situation by changing the focus of the fund and offering more flexibility on what businesses can apply for.”
The fund has been expanded to support business sustainability, the focus being broadened from productivity and innovation to helping employers with sustainability and skill retention. These are key concerns for the construction industry in the current extraordinary circumstances.
In 2020-21 the expanded STF will allocate £10 million exclusively to micro and small businesses to allow them to invest in new ways of using technology, e-learning and upskilling staff. This figure will rise to £12m for 2021-22 and 2022-23. Additionally, in response to industry stakeholders, an additional £4 million is being allocated to medium-sized businesses for 2020–2021.
Small and micros can apply for up to £10,000 and medium firms can apply for up to £25,000. CITB will shortly unveil a Leadership & Management Development Fund for larger businesses.
“Construction companies are under incredible pressure as a result of COVID-19,” says Beale. “At the moment the main priority is doing all we can to ensuring businesses and employees are protected so that, when the current emergency finally comes to an end, the sector is armed with the skills and resources it needs to keep Britain building.”