Today I can share with you our Skills Stability Plan 2020/21 and our plans for collecting the Levy over the next two years.
We all know that construction has been, and is being, re-shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst we won’t understand its full impact for some time, it’s clear that there are significant challenges in getting started again, adapting to new ways of working and training, completing apprenticeships and updating skills. Our plan for this year is to target support that is easy to access on these key challenges.
Skills Stability Plan 2020-21
The Skills Stability Plan (PDF, 164KB) outlines our work for this financial year and sees us protect apprenticeships, the Grants Scheme and direct employer funding despite the fact that we will only collect £74m of levy this year - just over a third of normal levels.
We have made significant reductions in our cost base and are utilising our reserves to make sure we provide the highest level of support right now, directly to employers. We will continue to identify and action additional cost reduction.
Direct funding for employers is prioritised through the Skills and Training Funds, with £8m earmarked for small and micro businesses, £3.5m for medium-sized businesses, with a £3m Leadership and Management Fund for large firms. This will help employers train to adapt to the new working environment and update the skills of their workforce.
Protecting apprenticeships is critically important because they are the future of the industry.
We have put together a package of measures to keep as many apprentices in the industry as possible, from grant support, to remote learning opportunities, through to helping them find new employment if they are made redundant.
CITB will work with other industry partners to support workers who have lost their jobs or seen their apprenticeship disrupted, matching them with a new employer, including through exploring a talent retention scheme. It’s essential we do everything we can to support talented people at the start of their careers and support the businesses who employ them.
Levy collection 2020-22
CITB does not have the legal power to simply cut this year’s Levy. We had hoped to do this, but doing so requires government legislation intervention and that wasn’t possible within the timeframe. Instead, we are implementing measures to reduce levy payments for employers and delay collection this year, as far as we are able.
We are going to extend the current payment holiday until September, and then give Levy-payers the option to spread their payments over up to 12 months until August 2021. Next year, we are proposing to Government a 50% cut in Levy bills, delaying collection until September ‘21, with option to spread payments over six months, up to February ‘22. Taken together, these measures mean that employers will pay 25% less across two years, with a payment holiday now when industry needs it most. An employer whose usual Levy bill is £1,200 per year will now pay £1,800 over two years.
Engagement with industry
We have confirmed with the Department for Education that we will not run the usual Consensus process and instead we will speak to employers and industry groups to seek their views on our plans for next year. This will allow us to focus our efforts entirely on supporting industry and will not place any more burden on employers and partners right now.
Finally, please note that from next week, these twice-weekly briefings will be reduced to one per week, though of course we will continue to communicate all essential information whenever necessary.
CITB has produced a range of checklists and forms to ensure those who are permitted and able to return to work have a clear understanding of how they can apply the CLC’s latest COVID-19 site operating procedures guidance in practice.
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.
I would like to wish you all a lovely weekend, stay safe.