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.

We are keen to understand the direct impact of the Coronavirus on the construction industry and your business, as well as the support given, and would appreciate hearing about your experiences in our short construction industry survey.

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

  

Video: An overview of the Skills Stability Plan  

The Skills Stability Plan (PDF, 163KB) sets out how CITB is supporting employers’ skills and training needs as the industry restarts following the impact of COVID-19.

The Plan describes the prioritisation and skills investments in the April 2020-March 2021 financial year. The priorities are to protect apprenticeships and provide direct funding to employers to adopt new ways of working needed in the wake of COVID-19 and retain skills. 

CITB will work with other industry partners to match displaced workers with new opportunities, including through exploring a talent retention scheme. This will build on the support already provided to help apprentices complete their programmes including through up-front grant payments to current year-2 and year-3 apprentices, assistance to match displaced or at-risk apprentices to new employers and developing more alternative options such as Shared Apprenticeship Schemes.

The Plan has also prioritised the Grant Scheme and direct funding for employers 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 needed by their business to help recover.

Last updated: 30 June 2020

Headlines

  • No Levy payments before September and then, up to 12 months to pay

  • Next year’s Levy bills to be delayed and 50% rate cut proposed.

CITB has been exploring with government ways to cut the levy bill, recognising the cash-flow challenges that industry faces. By law, we must collect the Levy, but we’ve developed a solution that will reduce payments for all Levy payers and offer an extended ‘payment holiday’.   

We are asking for no Levy payments until September, and then employers will have a choice to pay up-front or over a 12 month period to August 2021.

In addition, next year's Levy bills will be delayed and cut by 50%. This bill can also be paid in one go, or spread over up to 6 months, from September 2021 - February 2022.

This means an overall Levy cut of 25% across two years.

Levy collection will then return to 'normal' rates and collection periods from March 2022.

Notes

All levy bills, raised before 2020, should have been paid by this point. Employers in arrears should contact CITB at levyaccountsteam@citb.co.uk 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.

Last updated: 30 June 2020

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.

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.

Grant Online

We have created a short document outlining how you can access CITB’s Grant Online service: CITB Online - Grant Online top tips (PDF file, 513KB)

We urge employers to check their Grant Online accounts for claims which need authorising. 

Grant scheme year extended

The deadline for claim applications for the Grant Scheme Year 2019 / 2020 has been extended to the end of November 2020. Whilst the Grant Scheme Year normally concludes on the 30 June, we have extended the deadline to provide additional time to businesses to claim through this challenging period. 

Apprentice achievement grants

​We are aware that due to the current situation there is a delay in Apprenticeship completion certificates being issued by centres. As a result of this, we are currently accepting email confirmation of achievement from the awarding body, in lieu of the certificate, when applying for Apprenticeship achievement grant.​

This applies to Apprenticeship achievements, Short period qualifications and Long period qualifications.

Last updated: 30 June 2020

CITB has re-established Health, Safety and Environment testing operations in England. All Pearson Professional Centres in England are operational as of 5 June, with our ITC network being phased back on a one by one basis once they have confirmed the implementation of new social distancing measures.

We continue to follow Government advice and guidance, and where localised lockdowns are implemented in England, please be aware that this may lead to us suspending delivery of the HS&E testing in those areas.

Read more in our Localised lockdowns and UK update (PDF 255KB).

For those outside of England, where centres have yet to resume testing, we have the following temporary LITE testing products as well as some suggested test delivery guidelines (PDF file, 178KB) to help employers run their own in-house interim testing to give a level of local assurance that an employee is safe to work on their site.

Please note: These LITE tests cannot be used to apply for a CSCS or CPCS card. Permission to allow the employee on site is at the discretion of the employer. This is an interim measure only. The candidate must pass a HS&E test in a Test Centre once temporary restrictions on Test Centres have been lifted. 

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

Last updated: 30 June 2020

CITB has been carefully monitoring the evolving COVID-19 position and the information which is being regularly issued from the UK Government. Based upon the advice and guidance which has recently been made available, the National Construction College (NCC) has made the decision to re-commence commercial face-to-face training in England.

Our priority will continue to be delegate and staff safety, therefore we will start to deliver training through a phased approach with pilot courses initially being offered from July onwards. We will continue to monitor and review our procedures to ensure that the appropriate level of safety is maintained.

For NCC Apprentices, we will be making direct contact with Apprentices in the coming weeks to confirm the resumption of their learning. 

For those looking to train at our Inchinnan training centre in Scotland, we are still continuing to monitor the Scottish Government advice and will provide appropriate updates.

We will still be delivering the Site Safety Plus – Health and Safety Awareness (HSA) course via remote learning as part of our training offer.

To make a booking or for more details you can contact the Course Booking team on 0344 994 4433.

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.

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

National Specialist Accredited Centre (NSAC)

The NSAC team are continuing to operate supporting assessors & learners sampling portfolios and providing information advice and guidance to the specialist sectors.

We would ask all new enquiries to email us at enquiry.nsac@citb.co.uk.

Last updated: 9 June 2020

Skills and Training Fund

Our Skills and Training Fund has been refreshed and now encompasses two strands supporting; micro and small companies (up to 100 employees), medium sized businesses (up to 250 employees) to become a wider offer for employers. CITB has adapted to the COVID-19 situation by amending the scope of activity that will be supported offering more flexibility on what businesses can apply for.

The fund comprises two streams:

  • A Skills and Training fund for micro and small businesses where businesses can apply for a maximum of £10,000 (full details and how to apply) depending on the size of the employer.
  • A Skills and Training fund for medium-sized businesses where employers with up to 250 employees are eligible to receive up to £25,000 (full details and how to apply).  

Based on employer need the fund will allow businesses to define then address their particular challenges. The focus has broadened from productivity and innovation, to helping employers with business sustainability and skill retention – key concerns for the construction industry in the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment.

Thanks to feedback from our customers the stream for medium sized businesses includes greater flexibility on funding rules to ensure it addresses employers’ immediate needs. I urge interested employers to contact their local CITB Advisor to talk about how they can make this funding opportunity work for them.

This video provides further information on the funds and you can also read the news story on the launch. 

As of 21 May we have received 352 applications. To apply for funding, click here.

Leadership and Management Development Fund

The Leadership and Management Development Fund is a one-year competitive fund that launched on April 14. It will enable large construction companies (with more than 250 directly employed staff) to invest in developing the leadership, management or supervisory skills of their staff. More details are available on the Leadership and Management Development Fund page.

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 the 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: 21 May 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.

As of 21 May over 10,800 apprentices have been contacted by our Apprenticeship officers to make them aware of support available. CITB’s partnerships team also signposted support details to over 1,000 employers and sought to address their needs.

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

COVID-19 safety checklist for on-site apprentices

The checklist, based around the CLC guidance, contains measures that employers/site management must have in place to ensure they are adequately protecting apprentices and others.

Apprentice achievement grants

We are aware that due to the current situation there is a delay in Apprenticeship completion certificates being issued by centres. As a result of this, we are currently accepting email confirmation of achievement from the awarding body, in lieu of the certificate, when applying for Apprenticeship achievement grant.

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, core and essential skills videos with Welsh language versions) 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. On self-registration, just pick a letter (surname) and number of your choice.

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: 21 May 2020

ATO course delivery

As the construction industry gets back to work, we continue to support our Approved Training Organisations (ATOs), employers and delegates, as we all adapt to the challenges faced by COVID-19.

The role played by Approved Training Organisations is crucial and, with the various home nations updating their guidance as we move into recovery, to support employee competency and meet the demand for training, we are encouraging ATOs to review their course offering.

How to find training

Whether you prefer face to face or remote training everything you need is here:

For Standards that sit in the Recognised category please contact the relevant Recognised Organisation to see if these standards can be delivered remotely.

To support ATOs the following measures remain in place:

CTD and CTR Improvements
 Recent improvements include a new resources area and improved search functionality for finding a course or learner. This has seen an increase in the number of successful learner searches via the Construction Training Register and Card Checker.
We will provide further updates as and when we can.
Last updated: 17 June 2020

Site operating procedures - protecting your workforce during COVID-19

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) guidance is intended to introduce consistent measures on construction sites of all types and sizes in line with the Government’s recommendations on social distancing and ensure employers and individuals make every effort to comply.

Examination of lifting equipment

The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on the examination of lifting equipment, and their approach to enforcement on this issue, during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

COVID-19 - Site safety checklists and forms

During the pandemic it is essential that the workforce is protected to minimise the risk of infection on construction sites.

We have worked hard with the CLC and others to produce a comprehensive range of interactive checklists and forms to assist construction employers. The resources will ensure that those who are permitted and able to return to work have a clear understanding of how they can apply the CLC’s COVID-19 Site operating procedures guidance (Version 5, updated 4 July) in practice. Guidance on issues such as close working, cleaning and what employees should do if they become unwell is included. 

Download: All COVID-19 forms (ZIP file, 2MB)

CC01: COVID-19 – Site operating procedures compliance checklist

An interactive checklist, designed to be used to ensure compliance with current guidance on protecting your workforce on site during the COVID-19 pandemic. The checklist can be amended with additional comments to ensure it aligns with specific site policies. The checklist will help organisations to establish whether crucial health and safety principles are embedded in their day-to-day operations during the pandemic.

Download: CC01 COVID-19 - Site operating procedures compliance checklist (PDF file, 1MB)

CC02: COVID-19 – Health, safety and environmental risk assessment template

A guide offering example control measures for those required to undertake risk assessment of the workplace and specific activities on site. An interactive risk assessment template is also included in order to facilitate this process.

Download: CC02 COVID-19 - Health safety and environment risk assessment template (PDF file, 2MB)

CC03: COVID-19 – A toolbox talk for construction workers

Designed to be delivered to construction workers by their manager or supervisor. Good communication is essential for health and safety management on construction sites. It is vitally important that contractors, managers and supervisors engage and consult with workers, as it is an effective way of identifying hazards and controlling risks.

Download: CC03: COVID-19 – A toolbox talk for construction workers (PDF file, 325KB)

CC04: COVID-19 – Weekly site operating procedures checklist

An interactive checklist, designed to ensure on-going compliance with both established and additional procedures.

Download: CC04: COVID-19 – Weekly site operating procedures checklist (PDF file, 1MB)

Additional resources

We have also released our complete library of 98 interactive checklists and forms from our GE700 Construction Site Safety publication for free download. The comprehensive range of checklists and forms are designed to help with the day-to-day management of construction sites.

Link: GE700 - Checklists and forms

On May 11, the UK Government published Working safely during COVID-19 in construction and other outdoor work, a document to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The guidance emphasises the importance of keeping as many people as possible two metres apart from those they do not live with. You can download it here.

Last updated: 3 July 2020

SSP classroom delivery

CITB has been carefully monitoring the evolving Covid-19 position and the information which is being regularly issued from the UK Governments and NHS. Based upon the advice and guidance which has recently been made available CITB has made the decision to allow SSP providers, in England, to re-commence face to face training. Re-start necessitates each SSP provider to decide for itself whether to reopen and requires each SSP provider to follow the Government guided approach for their individual Nation of the UK. Currently, this means:

England Centres will be allowed to restart the delivery of face-to-face training courses, subject to adherence and compliance with Governmental guidelines, from Monday 8 June 2020
Scotland Centres will remain closed at this time
Wales Centres will remain closed at this time
Northern Ireland Centres will remain closed at this time

CITB will continue to review Government guidance in relation SSP providers re opening in the other UK nations. 

Remote training for Site Safety Plus courses

To continue to support industry and maintain a level of health and safety awareness, remote learning delivery of Site Safety Plus courses will continue alongside face to face training until further notice. Please see below for the list off SSP courses available;  

  • HSA – Health and Safety Awareness Course
  • SEATS – Site Environmental Awareness Training Scheme
  • NEW SSSTS – Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme
  • NEW SMSTS – Site Management Safety Training Scheme
  • SSSTS-R –Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme Refresher
  • SMSTS-R – Site Management Safety Training Scheme Refresher
  • TWGATC – Temporary Works General Awareness Training Course
  • TWSTC – Temporary Works Supervisor Training Course
  • TWCTC – Temporary Works Coordinator Training Course.

Remote learning for the above detailed courses is available through many of our Site Safety Plus training centres. The first ever Site Safety Plus remote learning course took place in early April, new courses are being registered every day. Please contact your local SSP training centre for further information.

Site Safety Plus achievement certificates

Whilst we are continuing to issue and dispatch 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.

SSP certificate expiry

Any delegate whose SMSTS/SSSTS achievement has expired since 15 March 2020 and who hasn’t been able to renew in time due to COVID-19, will be allowed to take the refresher rather than the full course. This amendment will remain in place until 30 September 2020. CITB will continue to review this date to ensure that delegates are not unduly disadvantaged, due to COVID-19.

Last updated: 4 June 2020

The CITB Publications telephone line has now been restored: 0344 994 4122.

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: 7 April 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

Thank you to those who have registered for SkillBuild; we really appreciate your enthusiasm to take part in our competitions.

We are currently monitoring the Government's advice regarding COVID-19 and together with our partners are exploring options that are safe for everyone involved in the SkillBuild competitions.

We will continue to monitor the situation and as soon as we have details of the next steps we will be in touch. Please do continue to check for general competition updates via email, the SkillBuild pages on Go Construct and the WorldSkills UK site.

If you have any questions or queries, please email: competitions@worldskillsuk.org

In the meantime, thank you again for registering and for your interest – and stay safe!

Last updated: 22 May 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

The winner has been announced of the first England & Scotland Buildathon – a competition designed to show children aged 5-12 construction’s appeal.  Well done to Alice Francis. Alice’s winning entry was highly personalised with a tremendous level of imaginative design and fun. Congratulations also to Gabriel Walsh, the first winner of the Buildathon in Wales.

The winner has been announced of the first England & Scotland Buildathon – a competition designed to show children aged 5-12 construction’s appeal.  Well done to Alice Francis. Alice’s winning entry was highly personalised with a tremendous level of imaginative design and fun. Congratulations also to Gabriel Walsh, the first winner of the Buildathon in Wales.

Using resources previously produced, we’re pleased to see future generations developing their interest in the industry through the Minecraft Buildathon competitions. The winner of the second Buildathon round in Wales has been announced. The construction competition continues to draw talent, receiving a number of high quality entries. Congratulations to Zac Allsopp, whose entry was full of imagination. The exceptional detail and level of accuracy throughout also captured the judge’s attention.

For more information and to register your interest, click here.

Last updated: 21 May 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has required CITB to review the approach for the delivery of S/NVQs and a temporary revision of the Consolidated Assessment Strategy (PDF, 332KB).  Please see our Guidance to Consolidated Assessment Strategy (PDF, 133KB). See also the Consolidated Assessment Strategy version approved for SVQs (PDF, 422KB).

Last updated: 9 July 2020

The CITB-funded Offsite Ready Project was launched on April 23 - see the digital brochure and information. See also the background details on the investment, announced in June 2019.

Last updated: 23 April 2020

On April 28, 2020, to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day, CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale issued this update on CITB’s work to support the construction industry on mental health; safety; and general wellbeing in construction.   

I hope the following resources and links: a blog on wellbeing, information on new online safety courses, and a short online video outlining our work on mental health are helpful during these challenging times for industry.

Reaching out for help can be very difficult. But talking and sharing problems can help enormously.  If anyone is in immediate crisis I urge you to call the Construction Industry Helpline on 0345 605 1956 or the Samaritans free on 116 123. These services do a great job; they are there to help you.

COVID-19 wellbeing blog

CITB’s Health and Safety Policy Lead, the Reverend Kevin Fear, has written a blog with useful tips on how to manage wellbeing and support your workforce during COVID-19, it can be read here. As Kevin writes, not everyone is comfortable talking about mental health at work, so the Lighthouse Club, a charity dedicated to the wellbeing of construction workers and their families, has created a helpline app which you can download here.

New online safety courses

The first ever Site Safety Plus (SSP) remote learning courses took place earlier this month. I am pleased to announce that more have been added including the option to book the full Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) and Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) courses. Please contact your local SSP training centre or use the SSP course locator tool to find a suitable date and time for your learning.

Our own training standards for Approved Training Organisations have been expanded to include 180 remote learning standards allowing centres to continue deliver training – including a range of site safety and mental health training courses. The full list can be seen here.

Online video on CITB’s mental health work

CITB Wales’ Partnerships Director Mark Bodger has made a brief video outlining the importance of World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day. Mark speaks about CITB’s work on training mental health first aiders and how people can help each other in these difficult times. You can watch the video here.

Last updated: 28 April 2020