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CITB to shed staff and outsource operations

16 November 2017

Sarah Beale: ‘Tough decisions could be made’

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is planning to shed staff and outsource a large amount of its operations as part of its new strategy.

Vision 2020: The Future CITB is a new publication launched following the government’s ITB review and the triennial consensus process.

As part of the new strategy the organisation will be slimming down and moving its head office from Bircham Newton in Norfolk, with Peterborough earmarked as a likely new base.

The plans, which could lead to large job losses, include the outsourcing of many of its back office functions which it aims to have in place by the end of 2018.

It has also vowed to move away from directly delivering training through its national construction college with new courses to be divested to other training providers.

The government review of the CITB found that although construction employers and trade associations voted for the industry levy to continue, there was heavy criticism of how it currently operates.

In future, the CITB will only provide training or a service where it is unavailable on the market, or not to the quality level that is sought. 

Sarah Beale, chief executive of CITB, said: “Construction needs to modernise and CITB is no exception. We accept the challenges laid down by industry and government and we will deliver a future-fit training body by adapting and updating our business model.

“Some really tough decisions could be made under these proposals but I’m confident in our commitment to becoming a more representative, accountable and reliable ‘levy in, skills out’ organisation. We now have a clearly defined path, and we see a bright future for a modern, engaged CITB.”

SHe added: "These are tough calls to make, but needed if we are to meet the future demands and make the greatest impact to construction. We have worked hard to develop robust, well thought-out plans which meet our industry’s needs whilst building a solid foundation for CITB’s future."

However, the new proposals have been slammed by construction industry union Unite. The union’s national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “These plans are a hammer blow for the construction industry and for the workers at the CITB.”

“Thousands of construction workers owe their careers and their livelihoods to the unique training they have received at Bircham Newton.

“There are grave doubts whether any private provider could or would provide the same level of training at the same cost, which is currently provided at this unique facility.

“It appears that the ‘reforms’ being proposed by the CITB are all about increasing profits for individuals and companies and not what is in the best interests of the construction industry.

“Construction is already facing a skills crisis and it is quite impossible to see how the CITB’s decision to end its role in providing training is not going to simply make a bad situation worse.”

He added: “The government must step in to ensure that these vitally important tutors and training facilities are not lost and that training is not downgraded.”

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