CITB sets out solutions to “Big Six” skills challenges for the construction industry


The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has today set out its plans to help the industry meet critical skills challenges and secure its future workforce.

CITB’s business plan for 2019-2021 (published today) responds to industry’s demands for it to become more strategic and better focused.

The plan outlines the ‘Big Six’ skills challenges, based on research and insight from construction employers across Great Britain.

They include:

• making construction an attractive career to a broader range of recruits
• developing a ‘site-ready’ workforce
• getting more construction learners to join the industry
• growing the number and diversity of apprentices
• helping smaller firms invest in the training that can transform their business
• boosting the number of assessors for vocational qualifications.

With an ageing workforce and the potential of losing EU workers, the industry critically needs a new generation of skilled, motivated workers. So CITB is launching a nationwide careers campaign that will attract and inspire many more recruits from all walks of life.

This big, bold campaign will highlight the many fantastic and well-paid career opportunities available, reaching groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in the industry. It will provide clear information on how to get into construction, including through apprenticeships and work experience, and will showcase the support available, such as higher CITB funding rates for apprenticeships.

Construction firms also say they struggle to find site-ready recruits. CITB will tackle this head-on by expanding the Construction Skills Fund initiative launched last year, which is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by CITB.

With 26 onsite hubs now running across England, CITB will use industry funding to create a further 20 hubs to extend the scheme to Scotland, Wales and other regions in England. These new hubs will give thousands of local people valuable onsite experience, and deliver the work-ready candidates employers need.

Construction now has more than a million small and medium sized employers, making them essential contributors to the sector and the economy. Yet many smaller firms operate on wafer-thin profit margins, making it hard for them to invest in the training that can transform their business.

In 2018 CITB helped over 1400 smaller employers access £6m in training support through its Skills and Training Fund. In the coming year, we will continue to invest by growing this fund to £8m, reaching 1900 firms.

CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale said: “Our Business Plan identifies the most pressing skills challenges we face as an industry, and sets out the detail of how CITB will work with partners to address them.

“We’ve built the plan by listening to employers and their needs, and making sure CITB is focused on a small number of really critical projects that it is best placed to deliver, whilst improving our services too.

“Working with employers, learners and education, I’m confident that this plan will help transform construction and make it fit for the future.”

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