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Top government ministers back retention of CITB

11 July 2017

Government ministers have given their backing to the CITB, as long as contractors vote in favour of the levy system.

Three ministers voiced their support for the training body in a letter to the CITB board this week.

The letter, written to CITB chairman James Wates, was co-signed by skills minister Anne Milton, housing minister Alok Sharma, and industrial strategy minister Lord Prior. It acts as an interim statement on the review of Industrial Training Boards, due to be published in full in October.

The letter stated: “Having reviewed the options for making sure that the construction industry has the skills it needs, we have concluded that the CITB should be retained.”

But the ministers warned: “We also have to acknowledge concern across the industry about the effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness of the CITB.

“CITB is now embarking on a major reform programme to reduce the size of the organisation and make it more focused on those aspects of the skills agenda where there is clear market failure, or where a collective approach to training can deliver real benefits to employers, including small businesses.

“We support the direction of these reforms, and we encourage you to continue to develop and refine them in discussion with the industry and government.”

In response, Wates wrote: “I appreciate your confirmation that the CITB should be retained, provided industry supports it in the Consensus process this summer. 

“CITB has made great efforts in recent months to agree with industry the steps it needs to take to improve its effectiveness, efficiency, and responsiveness, and the CITB has started to implement these changes.

“Rest assured that CITB has listened – and will continue to listen – to concerns of industry. I have no doubt that the ITB Review when published will provide further insights to guide CITB’s evolution.

“I hope that the construction sector is able to rally behind a reformed CITB as one aspect of broader change that needs to take place to modernise and meet the UK’s construction needs in the future.”

Speaking to CM in February, the body and revealed it was aiming to reduce its £90m cash reserves as well as launching a number of initiatives ahead of the industry vote at the end of this summer.

The CITB also recently sold its awarding body, Cskills, to NOCN, to enable it to focus on its primary function as an industry sector skills council, and to remove any conflict of interest as it develops skills standards for the sector.

The government’s consultation into the future of the CITB was launched in February.

Comments

So, three govermnent ministers gave just given their backing to the CITB! Well, a bit late considering that new CEO Sarah Beale has only just been appointed, to rescue the organisation!

This fantastic facility has obviously been in trouble over recent years, hence the departure of its previous CEO & Sarah Beale being promoted to turn it round, but it beggars belief why she as CFO kept £90m in the coffers?

One also questions whether Sarah Beale is the right person to head the organisation without having any direct experience in construction, apart from her years at CITB, coming from a finance background.

The future viability of CITB would amazingly still appear to be unsecured, as it awaits Consensus process this summer! One has to ask why wouldn't such an organisation need to be viable, as is plainly evident in construction today, for skills & skilled workers are sadly lacking,

Also, with Brexit it is suggested that there will be a further shortage of construction workers as construction immigrants & foreign workers leave the UK & return home, together with fewer foreign construction workers immigration! Another contributing factor being that apprenticeships have been sadly lacking over past years. The industry has only itself to blame, putting profit & bonuses before training!

CITB just has to be a continuing viable organisation, its future cannot even be considered to be in doubt, it is critical to the future success of our construction industry.

Every success to Sarah Beale.

Richard Moore. MCIOB, 11 July 2017

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