Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

CITB Apprenticeships overhauls teaching methods

The CITB is introducing new tech and group learning elements to the way it teaches maths and English to apprentices to cut the numbers that drop out or fail their courses.

Currently the apprentices who haven’t attained the minimum standards in maths and English while in school must undertake additional qualifications in these subjects as part of their apprenticeship.

In England, one in five apprentices fail to pass the qualification in either maths or English.

The aim of the new £350,000 scheme is to boost attainment in these subjects, by making the teaching more relevant and accessible, and empowering the learner.

This will be achieved in in three ways:

  • By using a new online diagnostic tool to assess learners’ level of knowledge. Based on that assessment, resources will be provided so that each apprentice has an individual learning plan tailored to their specific needs. This is being piloted now.
  • Creating informal, pod-based learning environments, alongside partners in FE, where apprentices can work together and problem-solve in small teams. One of the reasons some apprentices drop out is because they feel like they are returning to the classroom, where they may have had a negative experience. By changing the environment in which they study, they should feel more empowered and therefore perform better.
  • Creating a series of videos which help bring maths to life, by showing how it is used in a real-life, construction context. The videos are being created now for roll-out in the summer.

The new initiative is set to begin in September and will initially apply to the 15,000 apprentices trained by CITB Apprenticeships, with roll-out across other training providers later in the year as part of its commitment to raise standards across the entire sector. 

Steve Hearty, head of CITB Apprenticeships, said: “Most apprentices currently do very well on their courses and go on to have successful, rewarding careers in construction. But too many are dropping out or failing their course because of a weakness in English and maths, which is a terrible waste of talent.

“There are many reasons for this, which is why we are introducing big changes to not just how students learn, but the environment in which they study.

“We hope this will boost the number of apprentices passing their courses, so these young people can make the most of their skills. It will also offer value for construction employers, who need for workers with the right training and qualifications alongside sound knowledge of English and maths.”


Dumb and dumber. If the apprentice isn't smart enough to pass basic english and math I certainly won't want him anywhere near my company. Why is the CITB determined to be scraping the bottom of the barrel in competition for young people to enter the industry. Construction is hard work whether you're on a site or in an office. You need motivated youngsters. We should be promoting construction and competing with universities for entrants, not competing with the dole queues.

  • 16th Mar 2017, at 11:54 AM
  • Mick Barnett

Could the fact that people are failing maths and English be something to do with a failed education system that does not support or encourage individuals. If you are not average you are out.

  • 16th Mar 2017, at 09:26 PM
  • Sheila

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