Covid-19: CITB chief exec update – 5 May 2020


Good afternoon,

I hope your week is going well. Today’s COVID-19 industry update focuses on our Site Safety Plus distance learning, its impact on providers and how quality training is being maintained despite lockdown restrictions.

I also have news of the imminent launch of a site safety Tool Box Talk produced in collaboration with the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

Site Safety Plus (SSP) distance learning

Training providers are continuing to support construction employers with essential training during this difficult time. Early signs show that the five CITB Site Safety Plus learning courses providing distance learning are having a positive impact for training providers, learners and employers.

Reassuringly, the pass rate of SSP courses since lockdown and the start of remote learning has remained consistent with courses delivered in the classroom. In April the pass rate on SSP courses varied by just 1.48%, compared to January 2020’s figure, with May being similar to date. All courses and tests are monitored remotely by CITB’s Quality Assurance Team to ensure high standards are maintained.

I was pleased to learn of one centre which is providing additional support by running a pre-awareness course on “how to use the computer for remote training”, to support delegates who struggle with technology. It is free-of-charge and takes place the day before training.

And it was good to receive feedback on the impact of SSP courses from Jo Niblett, Managing Director at Pragmatic Consulting, a Warwickshire-based training and assessment centre that has provided CITB training since July 2017. Jo told us that the courses have had a dramatically positive impact on their business.

Jo said: "We brought in more income in 48 hours, following the Friday email (from CITB), than the previous five weeks, and filled a number of courses. This has had a huge impact on my team in terms of morale and enabling our trainers to work." Jo said the courses have allowed Pragmatic Consulting to reach a much wider audience; they have gained over 30 new customers including from more remote parts of the UK.

There are numerous benefits to distance learning both during lockdown and looking to the future. It’s important to stress that courses are tutor-led; they are effective and interactive, an online classroom environment that allows tutors to engage with delegates and discuss key topics to confirm understanding. Other benefits, as Jo Niblett points out, include: no driving for delegates or trainers; a relaxed atmosphere; focused learning; and a great opportunity to learn new skills.

Approximately 10% of our Site Safety Plus centres have signed up to deliver remote training, a swift take-up given the huge upheavals to industry we’ve seen in recent weeks.

I hope you can make the most of the SSP Courses and all the remote learning standards we’ve made available. You can find an SSP course on the SSP Course Locator here.

Tool Box Talks

CITB will shortly launch a Toolbox Talk, aligned with CLC Site Operating Procedures (Version 3), following feedback from industry. The aim of the Toolbox Talk is to support industry to ensure safety guidance is followed during COVID-19. It also includes a range of other useful documents including interactive site compliance checklist, risk assessment templates and weekly compliance checklist

The Toolbox Talk - delivered to construction workers by their manager or supervisor - will ensure their workforce has a clear understanding of what the CLC’s COVID-19 safe operating practices are. It will reinforce core basic principles of site safety in a brief, accessible way.

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.

My next update will be on Thursday. Until then stay safe and well.

Kind wishes

Sarah Beale
Chief Executive