Coronavirus (COVID-19) communication updates

What CITB is doing to support construction employers through the coronavirus crisis and beyond

The social and economic challenges stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are becoming clear. It means severe challenges for CITB and the construction employers we work with and support across England, Scotland and Wales.

We are reviewing the situation and developing plans of action that reflect the reality for our customers and the latest UK Government guidance.

This is a complex, rapidly changing situation, which means we must work more closely together than ever before to protect the industry's skills through this crisis and beyond. Where we can lead, we will, and where we can offer support, or signpost to others better placed to help, we will do that.

We will provide the latest information about all our operations on this page, and through our social media channels, to ensure our customers and partners are fully informed. We will provide regular updates, so please revisit this page for the latest information and advice.

Thank you for reading, we wish you well at this incredibly difficult time.

  

CITB to suspend industry levy collection

CITB's board met on March 25 and gave final approval to suspend the issue of its levy bills, due for payment in 2020, for an initial period of three months.

The bills will subsequently be issued for the full year. The delay will provide immediate financial relief to construction employers during the coronavirus crisis. In normal times CITB assesses and sends out levy bills each April in accordance with legal requirements. CITB levy bills are usually due for payment in May, but CITB will not seek collection on the suspended bills until August, or later if possible.

Sarah Beale, CITB chief executive, said, "Everyone in construction is facing extreme pressure at the moment and it's right that we provide the financial relief we can to protect employers and ensure that the industry is as prepared as possible for the economic recovery that will come when the crisis lifts.

"CITB is reviewing all of its work to respond to the rapidly changing skills needs of industry. We are continuing to re-evaluate our services, funding and grants to adapt them to meet industry's changing priority needs."

CITB will provide employers with further detail as soon as it can. We understood the need to provide early information, even before all details are available.

Notes

All levy bills, raised before 2020, should have been paid by this point. Employers in arears should contact CITB to discuss payment options.

We are talking now to the UK Government to influence support for the construction industry, including seeking a financial grant for our work building critical industry skills.

You can watch a video of CITB Chief Executive Sarah explaining suspension of levy collection.

Following the Government's recent announcement, we are unable to support the Levy and Grant telephone lines. Callers with urgent queries will be asked to email levy.grant@citb.co.uk which we will continue to support as best we can in the current circumstances. We are continuing to process Grant applications as a priority in order to pay claims as quickly as possible. Alternatively if you would like to speak to your local advisor details are available here on our Contact CITB page.

We have frozen the 20-week processing rule, to allow employers to claim grants later as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

We urge employers to check their Grant Online accounts for claims which need authorising. We will monitor the situation carefully and update employers accordingly.

Apprenticeship attendance grants

Apply here for advanced payment of apprenticeship attendance grants for 2nd and 3rd year apprentices to help ensure future skills are retained in the construction industry amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The payments will be made from 6 April for apprentices already subject to CITB grant support and who are currently in the second or third year of their apprenticeship for the remainder of the year. The payments are expected to be able to support 7,500 apprentices, and will advance up to £2,500 in attendance grant at a time when retaining apprentices is critical. To read the press release on this please click here.

Last updated: 25 March 2020

As a result of the evolving situation around COVID-19, we announced last week the temporary closure of all Pearson Vue HS&E test centres from Friday 20 March until further notice.

From Tuesday 24 March we are also temporarily suspending testing throughout our Independent Test Centre (ITC) network.

New products available to help you

In response we have developed some free of charge products that we hope will help employers run their own in house interim testing to give a level of local assurance to help the employer to determine if an employee is safe to work on their site.

We have developed the following temporary LITE testing products as well as some suggested test delivery guidelines (PDF file, 178KB).

 CITB: LITE Operatives and Specialist HS&E TEST ONLY

CITB: LITE Managers and Professionals HS&E TEST ONLY

Employers can use the app and/or the windows PC/Laptop download to 'test' their employees in a controlled environment.

Our supporting revision products are still available on Apple iOS, Android and PC Download.

Impact of renewals

We understand this decision will have an impact on card applications and renewals, so we have been liaising with card scheme providers to agree how to tackle this challenge. We are supportive of calls for employers to provide flexibility on recently expired cards. You can find more on this by following the links below

Candidate support

We are working closely with Pearson Vue to ensure support is in place to reschedule or refund a candidates test.

In addition, we continue to work alongside Pearson Vue to understand ways of maximising testing capacity for when the test centre network reopens.

We wish to take this opportunity to assure you we are doing everything we can to ensure employers and candidates are supported through this difficult time; the health and wellbeing of the British Construction Industry is of paramount importance.

If you have any concerns or queries, please email: HSEtestdev@citb.co.uk

CITB's National Construction Colleges (NCCs) in Bircham Newton, Erith, Kings Norton and Inchinnan temporarily closed on Friday 20 March., Training was cancelled with immediate effect to enable arrangements for learners to return home.

Current and advance-booked courses during the closure can be rescheduled or refunded. CITB will contact all affected learners and employers to make arrangements.

As with other colleges across the country, the NCCs will remain closed until further notice – please check the CITB website for updates, including eventual reopening.

S/NVQ Support

The National Construction College/CITB would like to re-assure our learners working towards their S/NVQ that we are here to support you with your qualification through these challenging times.

Please continue to complete and send in your work-based evidence in the normal way (recorded delivery, if by post) as instructed by your training college instructor or on-site assessor.

Our teams are adopting new ways of working during COVID-19 and we ask you to please be patient while these are devised. Your College instructor or on-site assessor will contact you in due course.

For additional support with your qualification progress please e-mail us at: assessment@citb.co.uk.

Last updated: 24 March 2020

The Skills and Training Funds for both Small and Micro and Medium-sized businesses will still be launched on 1st April and assessed at the end of that month. Support to develop applications will be available from the CITB Partnerships Team, over the phone or Skype, in addition to written guidance available on the website.

We will offer increased flexibility to businesses with current Skills and Training Fund Projects; recognising that changing business need will result in requests for different training, or a change to delivery timescales.

We are also reviewing how the funds can be used to help businesses retain essential skills and support managers to provide the right leadership through this challenging period.

Commissioned Funding

We recognise that planned work and outputs on short and medium term CITB projects you are working on will almost certainly be affected by Covid-19.  CITB understands that the progress of the commission may be affected in a variety of ways because staff are unable to do the relevant work, that beneficiaries may be unable to attend as usual and events and meetings may be cancelled.

Please be assured that we understand that you may need to pause, postpone or change the work you are doing and that you may also need to adjust targets and reprofile payments. Members of my team will contact you shortly, if they have not done so already, to discuss the impact on the commission of Covid-19 and work with you to ensure changes to the commission are managed as effectively as possible.  Of course, there are likely to be long-term implications as a result, but we can explore these in due course

In the meantime there is no need to contact us – please focus your attention on your beneficiaries, your teams and yourselves.

Last updated: 27 March 2020

Following increased concerns over the COVID-19 virus and for safety precautions, regrettably,we have decided to cancel the upcoming Employer Roadshows. We understand this is disappointing news, however the health and safety of our delegates is of utmost importance.

Further details about an online alternative will be issued in due course.

Last updated: 16 March 2020

Apprenticeships are essential to safeguard the future of the construction industry amid the skills shortage. 

The coronavirus outbreak is putting employers, in particular smaller firms, under extreme pressure and CITB will continue to support them through this crisis.

Here are some of the measure we’ve introduced to help apprentices so far…

Apprenticeship attendance grants

Apply here for advanced payment of apprenticeship attendance grants for 2nd and 3rd year apprentices to help ensure future skills are retained in the construction industry amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The payments will be made from 6 April for apprentices already subject to CITB grant support and who are currently in the second or third year of their apprenticeship for the remainder of the year. The payments are expected to be able to support 7,500 apprentices, and will advance up to £2,500 in attendance grant at a time when retaining apprentices is critical. To read the press release on this please click here.

ESFA – guidance for apprentices and employers

CITB has worked with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to discuss funding rules on breaks in learning for apprentices. ESFA have issued guidance for apprentices, employers and training providers, you can read the guidance here.

Online learning tools

Online learning tools (functional skills videos) have also been made available to help apprentices continue their studies from home. These videos are available to all apprentices, not just CITB’s.  Information on how to register and access the videos can be found here.

Dedicated helpline

A dedicated e-mail helpline for all apprentices and their employers  providing advice and signposting during COVID-19 has been set-up by CITB.  Please e-mail us at Apprenticeships.COVID19@citb.co.uk for assistance.

Apprentice reviews and engagement

CITB has taken the decision to base all staff at home wherever possible. As a result, apprentice reviews and engagement with your apprentices and colleagues will be carried out via phone or Skype . We would appreciate your support with this as we work to keep our staff, and yours, safe.

Your Apprenticeship Officer will continue to be your point of contact and will provide ongoing support to you and your apprentices.

A letter was issued to all apprentices via email on 19 March, advising them that their Apprenticeship Officer will be in touch and in the meantime to follow NHS and UK Government guidance

We will contact you with more information as the situation develops.

CITB urges all employers not to dismiss any apprentices without first speaking to our Apprenticeship team (email: Apprenticeships.COVID19@citb.co.uk)

Last updated: 25 March 2020

We remain committed to supporting our Approved Training Organisations (ATOs), employers and delegates.

We are encouraging ATOs to relax cancellation and refund policies, to assist candidates in rescheduling courses attendance free of charge, should they be unable to attend as a result of COVID-19.

In addition to the support offered we have advised all ATOs to take additional, precautionary measures across their centres as we collectively work to combat the spread of COVID-19.

CITB are continually reviewing the situation and will provide further updates as and when we can.

Last updated: 19 March 2020

Live Update – 27 March 2020

We are unable to support the CITB Site Safety Plus Delegate telephone line at the present time.  Delegates looking to check which Site Safety Plus training centres are delivering remote HSA courses should check the course location tool. We will continue to process all paperwork as a priority. If you have an urgent query please email our dedicated mailbox sitecourses@citb.co.uk.

We remain committed to supporting the construction industry with training, whilst putting the health and safety of our Site Safety Plus training providers and delegates first.

As we work to combat the spread of COVID-19, our Site Safety Plus training centres have been instructed not to conduct any face-to-face training. During this challenging period, we are working with our network of training providers throughout the UK to support delegates who have been impacted by this decision. Anyone who has been impacted and booked a training course should contact their training provider for information on cancellations and rescheduling.

However, to continue to support industry and maintain a minimum level of health and safety awareness, we have introduced a remote learning and examination option for our market-leading HSA (Health and Safety Awareness) course. To find out more contact your local SSP training centre.

Whilst we are continuing to issue and despatch achievement certificates for SSP courses, there may be delays in certificates reaching delegates, and we understand this will have an impact on card applications. We have agreed with CSCS that applications for a Labourer’s card can now be supported with evidence of the HSA achievement from the CITB card-checker or CITB Construction Training Register. You can find more on card schemes by following the links below.

In addition, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the opportunity for all to keep up-to-date with health, safety and environmental awareness, by accessing the extensive range of training and educational material from CITB. Safety on site is also covered with tools such as risk assessments and Method statements. This can all be found at CITB health & safety support materials and CITB Construction scenarios

CITB has also produced seven award-winning training and awareness films to support those taking Site Safety Plus courses. These are available online at CITB SSP YouTube videos

CITB is continually reviewing the situation and will provide further updates when we can. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

Please visit the CSCS website regarding the actions they are taking around COVID-19 and card applications.

Last updated: 27 March 2020

We are unable to support the CITB Publications telephone line at the present time.

All CITB major Health Safety & Environment Test publications are available to download in digital format. 

If you have an urgent query please email our dedicated mailbox: publications@citb.co.uk

Last updated: 27 March 2020

CITB has followed the recent government advice to base all staff at home wherever possible.

Our team will continue to operate remotely covering applications for centre approval, routine audits for the Site Safety Plus (SSP), Internet Testing Centres (ITC) and Levy and Grant verification. These measures will be in place initially for the next two weeks up to and including Friday 3 April 2020. We will, however, continue to review related risks daily.
We would ask people to email us at quality.assurance@citb.co.uk with their queries rather than phone us, this will allow us to forward queries to the right person and enable a speedy response.

Quality assurance and verification activity/Compliance Work

We will endeavour to do the majority of this by electronic correspondence and telephone interview, reducing the need for a physical visit. For essential Compliance work we will risk assess prior to any intervention.

Compliance Work

We will attempt to collate as much information as we can electronically, and some interviews will take place by phone. This will mean where visits are essential, they can be as short as possible and minimise the risk.

Investigating team

This will continue to operate as usual. Each case is being risk-assessed where investigative activity may bring our staff member into contact with other people. CITB's compliance teams are committed to continuing their important work of identifying and protecting the construction industry from fraud risks relating to training delivery.

Considering the new advice around social distancing, we've advised colleagues not to attend face-to-face meetings unless necessary. They should take place over the phone instead. We've also asked our teams to review their plans for the weeks ahead and postpone any non-essential travel.

CITB is continually reviewing the situation and will provide further updates when we can.

Last updated: 19 March 2020

In the interests of the health and safety of everyone involved with the SkillBuild competitions, this year's full Regional Qualifier schedule has been postponed.

Possible re-scheduling and other contingencies are under discussion but not certain as the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing.

Please continue to register via the WorldSkills UK site, as this may be necessary for activities later in the year.

Further information will be on the CITB and Go Construct websites, with updates e-mailed to registrants if possible. Please monitor the situation via these pages and the WorldSkills UK site.

Last updated: 23 March  2020

Due to the ongoing development of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, CITB made the following decision in the interests of of our Ambassadors' health and safety and those receiving an Ambassador experience.

We have postponed all Ambassador events including Ambassador training until the end of April 2020, at which time we will review the situation and communicate directly with the hosts and Ambassadors of any affected event informing them of the policy going forward.
As the situation is changing quickly we have also decided not to take future bookings for all Ambassador services until further notice. We will communicate directly with our Ambassador network to update them of changes to the situation. Any other stakeholders should refer to this page for update, or contact the Ambassador operations team for further support.

Last updated: 20 March 2020