CLC and BAM Nuttall chief exec back CITB

4 September 2017

More senior figures have waded into the row over keeping the CITB with BAM Nuttall chief executive Steve Fox confirming his firm will support the CITB Consensus vote, arguing that disbanding the body would be a significant setback for skills development in the industry.

“Reform of CITB’s governance is necessary and we do need confidence that this will be effective and transparent,” said Fox. “However, the industry needs to step up its involvement in the Training Board and recognise what the CITB does and could do, as well as being clear about what future skills needs are.”

Fox said that laying blame for industry skills shortages at the door of the CITB was misguided.

“Volatility of industry workloads, low margins, slow adoption of new technologies, poor industry image and extensive use of ‘bogus’ self employment are what hamper employment and growth, not the training board delivery model,” he argued.

Steve Fox: Blaming CITB is misguided

“Infrastructure procurement needs to be more stable and rational, and firms that commit to direct employment and structured employee development must see this reflected in bid evaluation outcomes.”

Fox’s support comes as the Construction Leadership Council also threw its weight behind the CITB, in stark contrast to Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty’s CEO, who said he would not be voting in favour.

Quinn subsequently stepped down from the skills lead on the board of the Construction Leadership Council, ahead of the body backing the continuation of the CITB.

In a statement the CLC said: “We are supportive of a reformed CITB on the basis that an appropriate governance structure is implemented as part of the proposed reforms. To be effective, the CITB’s governing body must comprise industry leaders representing all tiers of the industry, providing the mechanism for the CITB to be industry-led and accountable.

“Should the triennial review confirm the continuing support of the industry for a reformed CITB, then the CLC will work with government and industry to ensure that an appropriate governance structure is put in place, that industry representation is of an appropriate calibre to provide strategic input to the CITB, and that communication with the industry is improved. 

“We will also work with the CITB on an ongoing basis to help deliver the CITB’s reform programme, and the skills the construction sector will need in the future.

Elsewhere, the boss of Mace has slammed comments made by Quinn on the future of the CITB, branding them “reckless” and “unhelpful”. 

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds said Quinn’s intervention threw a “boulder in the pond” when it came to the skills debate, adding that he was wrong to “go it alone” without the backing of the Construction Leadership Council or Balfour’s consensus body, Build UK, Construction News reported.

Meanwhile, the CITB hit back in a report outlining how some of the money it collects through its annual levy has been spent.

In its report it said that that 303 projects in England, Scotland and Wales had benefited from funding of £17.8m between September 2015 and December 2016.

Micro and small firms made up the majority (231) of those receiving funds, followed by construction federations (38), large employers (18), CITB-funded training groups (9), medium-sized employers (6) and one trade union.

Steve Radley, the CITB’s director of policy, said: “This report shares key findings on how levy payers’ money is having a positive impact on our industry, including on many small firms.

“It shows that CITB funding helps people gain qualifications, reduces skills gaps and improves staff morale. For employers it has encouraged innovation and facilitated new partnerships, as well as improving perceptions of construction as a career.

“We will continue to work closely with our industry to ensure that funding is targeted at its priorities and delivers the outcomes it needs.”

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