Covid-19: CITB chief exec update - 27 January 2021


Good afternoon, 

Today I would like to invite you to online employer events where you can find out how to take part in consultation on the Levy Proposals 2022-25 and feed back on future support required for skills. There is also an update on how Construction Skills Fund hubs are adapting to the pandemic to offer free training for thousands of people; and insight into the take-up of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation among construction employers. 

Register now for online employer events 

The online events in March and April will cover how we propose employers will be assessed to CITB Levy over the next three years. In the past year we’ve been in regular contact with many employers and industry bodies. The collection of the Levy Assessment in 2020 was temporarily suspended and the Levy rates for assessment in 2021 have been reduced by half. At the same time we have prioritised direct financial support for employers and apprentices. 

Now, as we look at the best means to contribute to industry’s recovery in the months ahead, your view can shape the way forward. At the events we’ll share how Levy registered employers can take part in consultation on the Levy Proposals 2022-25 and have their say on the proposed areas of support for construction businesses. 

If you are a Levy registered employer and wish to join us please register here

Construction Skills Fund: free training available 

It is essential that construction employers are provided with the workers they need to help rebuild the economy in the wake of COVID-19. Now in its second phase, the Construction Skills Fund (CSF) continues to provide free training for school leavers, people who are long-term unemployed and career changers who want to join the construction industry.  

Despite the pandemic, 14 learning hubs across England continue to deliver site-ready workers. To December 2020, 3,414 beneficiaries have started on the CSF2 programme across all the Hubs of which 2,376 have achieved employment-ready or site-ready status, and 885 have entered employment. 

One practical problem has been that learners are sometimes unable to visit sites due to COVID-19 regulations. Here employers have shown great flexibility by recognising virtual learning approaches so they can continue training until site visits are able to resume. This means CSF is still on target to get 3,000 people into jobs by September 2021. 

Find out more about how CSF can support you. 

Research: Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in construction 

The pandemic has seen a much greater emphasis on technology and safety. We’re researching how industry can benefit from modern methods of construction, and asked 1,500 employers, 97% of them SMEs, if they used tools such as artificial intelligence and automation.    

What the response showed was a belief that while present take-up is limited, Government commitments on decarbonisation to Net Zero, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, as well as the pandemic response will drive increased adoption in the near future, with implications for workforce retraining and new skills.  

Smaller firms, in particular, will also need more support to access transformative technologies, which is why we’re working on pilot projects focusing on the needs of SMEs and the supply chain.   

You can read the report here

A reminder…  

CITB’s COVID-19 Urgent Messages page is refreshed regularly 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.   

Best wishes and stay safe everyone, 

Sarah Beale 
Chief Executive