I hope you’re having a good week. Today’s update begins with a video explaining why CITB has had to make difficult funding decisions in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
This email also includes a link to new COVID-19 safety resources; news on the re-opening of our Test Centres in England; and a refresh on our recent support measures for industry.
CITB has, like everyone else in construction, made tough decisions to reduce our costs during the COVID-19 lockdown. Our decision to suspend Levy collection, for example, provided much-needed financial relief to employers, but as well as this delay in income, we are planning for a significant reduction in 2020/21 income overall.
After careful consideration, CITB believes that prioritising funding to give employers maximum support during the COVID-19 crisis is the right thing to do in these testing times. For this reason our focus in the year ahead will be on direct funding for employers’ immediate skills and training activity, and support for apprenticeships. This means we need to stop or suspend many of our other funded programmes and projects.
We are also talking to the Department for Education about options that may be available to reduce this year’s Levy bills. Details on the outcome of those discussions, and our funding decisions, will be included in our revised 2020/21 business plan, the Stability Plan, to be published in June.
I am keenly aware of the potential impact funding cuts will have on our customers. However, I believe the tough decisions we have made will help employers during these extraordinary times and get the best value from the industry’s levy right now. I hope this update and the accompanying video above explains why cuts have to be implemented.
COVID-19 site safety checklists and forms
New health and safety support, produced in collaboration with the Construction Leadership Council and supported by Build UK, is available to download - see the Site Operating Heading on our COVID-19 Urgent Messages page. The checklist and forms will help ensure site operating procedures during COVID-19 are clear and accessible to employees.
Following Sunday’s Government announcement CITB is re-establishing the Health, Safety and Environment testing operations in England. The majority of Pearson Professional Centres in England will be operational from Monday 18 May. For those outside of England, there are a number of free products to help employers run their own in-house interim testing to give a level of local assurance that an employee is safe to work on their site. Information and updates on test delivery can be found here (under HS&E Test section). Also, our Internet Test Centre network will be phased back on a one-by-one basis once they have confirmed the implementation of new social distancing measures.
Update on recent Support Measures
CITB announced last month that it would pay grants for second and third year apprentices in advance. Since then approximately £3.3m has been paid to over 1,940 employers, supporting 3,600 apprentices. Following industry feedback, we extended the Advanced Grant support to Higher Level Apprenticeships. Over £212k has been paid to 73 employers to support 339 apprentices since then.
Skills and Training Fund
The new Skills and Training Fund for micro, small and medium sized businesses was launched on April 1. To date we have received 309 applications. To apply for funding, please click here. The Leadership & Management Development Fund was launched on April 14. Applications are anticipated prior to the revised submission date of July 31.
Site Safety Plus
Three additional Site Safety Plus courses, which can be delivered remotely, are now available. They are: Temporary Works General Awareness Training Course; Temporary Works Supervisor Training Course; and Temporary Works Coordinator Training Course. To find the nearest SSP course to you please use our Course Locator.
CITB’s COVID-19 Urgent Messages page is refreshed daily and includes updates on the full range of our work.
You can also read the range of support measures made available to UK businesses and employees by the UK Government.
Finally, thank you to everyone who provided feedback on how to improve these updates. I will tailor these emails to reflect your comments from next week.
I hope the rest of your week is productive and you, your colleagues and family have a lovely weekend.