By Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB.
It’s a big question.
Well, there is of course a clear focus on Levy payers, but if it were collected, with an aim of simply giving it back, there would be no point. Following significant transformation, CITB’s 2021–2025 Strategic Plan shows how 95p of every pound of Levy collected is reinvested to support the industry and its workforce. The vast majority directly supports Levy-registered construction employers, 31,000 of whom are too small to pay any Levy but need help to train their workers.
Many are surprised at the wider impact of the Levy and CITB’s work.
Together we’ve worked to make sites safer for all, and CITB have certainly played a part in the 85% reduction in deaths on site since we started back in the 1960s. We’ve developed courses, tests, books and videos that have changed attitudes and saved lives. That’s the power of the Levy.
During the pandemic, we have been making sure people have the skills and knowledge to keep themselves and others safe. Based on the free-to-access site operating procedures our Covid eCourse was accessed over 20,000 times, helping keep construction workers safe and businesses operating. And by putting many health and safety-related courses online, learners can take courses when and where it is convenient. That’s the power of the Levy.
The Levy and CITB’s services are called upon when there is a skills crisis. Most recently, we provided personal support to over 11,000 apprentices and their employers, between us ensuring only 59 were lost to the sector. This is similar to how we rallied around the 1,400 apprentices, impacted and could have been lost by the collapse of Carillion. That’s the power of the Levy.
Levy pays for industry-wide systems to maintain and enhance the training infrastructure, helping to tackle fraud, Modern Slavery and mental health. We have the Construction Training Directory, on which over 2,000 grant aided, quality assured training courses are available throughout Britain, feeding the Construction Training Register, that holds over 12 million training records and supports numerous competence schemes. And where the market would not provide expensive or niche training, CITB ensures it’s there. That’s the power of the Levy.
Securing a pipeline of diverse talent is something so many of us care passionately about. I know many employers put their heart and soul into giving new entrants a good start to their career.
Grants support employers to take on an apprentice, and even this year we expect to work with over 9,000 employers and over 24,000 apprentices. Pastoral support boosts achievement rates and can help to improve mental health. Travel and subsistence grants mean learners from rural areas can train; and funding for small firms to share an apprentice, mean even the smallest companies can take one on.
And we make sure qualifications are relevant to employers’ needs, delivered at a high standard. We know without this support skills would be lost and many small employers simply could not afford the apprentices that are the lifeblood of construction. That’s the power of the Levy.
Our work goes beyond that, partnering with industry, government and others to sort out skills challenges once and for all, through changing policy and securing government support and funding for construction.
Getting more people into the industry who are site ready – addressed through Onsite Experience Hubs, that aims to create another 2,500 site ready individuals this year, in addition to the recent 13,000 delivered through the Construction Skills Fund. And getting more than the current two out of five college students into the industry is now being tackled through new occupation-specific Traineeships.
We provide an end-to-end service to inspire, inform and attract the talent needed, from a much wider pool. Starting with engaging 13,000 school students a year via our Go Construct STEM Ambassadors, then giving 700,000 people a year access career information about 200 occupations on Go Construct which will send them to the right entry point for them. This could be the Construction Training Register or straight to a job on Construction Talent Retention Scheme portal for those that are ready. For others they will be linked to taster and work experiences so they can see if construction is for them, or directed to an apprenticeship or graduate placements, through Talentview or My World of Work in Scotland. That’s the power of the Levy.
CITB will continue to make the Levy work hard and get construction the biggest bang for its buck – supporting employers to recruit and train skilled people.
A version of this article first appeared in Construction News on 16 July 2021.