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CITB to lead strategic talks to help secure training site’s future

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is set to meet local authority and industry leaders in Norfolk next month (Friday 9th February) to discuss the future of its Bircham Newton training centre.

The roundtable meeting will be chaired by King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council. Attendees will include Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Dr Saul Humphrey, director at Morgan Sindall and chairman of the LEP’s Building Growth board, and local MP, Sir Henry Bellingham.

The meeting will explore the ways in which training provision can continue at the site and ensure the retention of as many jobs as possible. It follows the announcement of CITB’s proposed strategy for its future offer – Vision 2020: The Future CITB - which answers the construction industry’s call for CITB reform into a smaller, more strategic organisation.

Councillor Brian Long, Leader of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council, said: “We’ve been working closely with colleagues at CITB to gain a detailed understanding of the Vision 2020 proposals and how they may affect the Bircham Newton site.

“We appreciate the reasoning behind CITB’s proposed move away from direct training, which is why we’re keen to maximise the potential opportunities for new partners at the site. We’re pleased to be hosting this session with the aim of creating a Vision 2020 Taskforce to ensure that all ideas and solutions are geared towards a positive outcome for the future of the site.”

College leaders, along with representatives from Norfolk County Council and Jobcentre Plus will also join the meeting with CITB’s chief executive Sarah Beale.

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB, said: “The industry has been absolutely clear – CITB must reform – but we also care very much about the communities and individuals affected by our change programme.

“We are pleased to be working with key stakeholders to find the best possible future for our Bircham Newton site. When we consulted recently with colleagues at the borough council, I found it particularly heartening to be met with open, responsive and positive attitudes towards our suggestions.

“The site has huge potential and, working together, we stand the best chance of maximising its benefit for both West Norfolk and the construction industry.”

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive Officer at New Anglia LEP, said: “CITB’s announcement will have come as a major blow to staff at Bircham Newton and businesses in the supply chain. But we understand the industry’s desire for change.

“The collaborative approach now being taken is a very good sign, and we look forward to working with all partners to provide a solution that best suits workers, the local economy and the construction industry.”

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