Latest CITB Business Plan
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has published its latest Business Plan, the first under new Chief Executive, Tim Balcon.
The CITB has highlighted three key challenges facing the construction industry:
- Responding to the skills demand.
- Developing the capacity and capability of construction training provision.
- Future skills needs.
The Business Plan states that each year an estimated 50,000 new recruits are needed in the construction industry, adding that those joining and those already in the industry need to access mandatory, core occupational skills training efficiently and conveniently, as well as future skills covering behaviour, digital, and Net Zero.
The plan then sets out how the CITB will invest £233m to address those challenges, and how the success of their planned interventions will be measured, including increasing traffic to Go Construct – the CITB’s career’s information portal, taster opportunities to attract talent, and a 5% increase in Apprenticeship starts, amongst
The full business plan can be found on the citb.co.uk.
On the plan, James Filus, NAS Director, comments:
There is a sense from this Business Plan that the CITB is heading in the right direction, but I am left questioning whether the plan is ambitious enough.
The Government’s own data shows that there was around a 9% decrease in Apprenticeship starts in 2020/21 compared to the previous year, likely as a result of the pandemic. Given that starts within Construction, Planning and the Built Environment have averaged 22k in the five years before the pandemic, it would be reasonable to expect that the numbers should return to that level without the CITB’s investment; with such significant investment, it would be reasonable to expect to see Apprenticeship starts increase on the prepandemic levels. With that in mind, the target of a 5% increase feels both a little safe and, perhaps more concerningly, doesn’t represent a big enough shift to address the reported 50,000 new recruits needed – albeit, I recognise that an Apprenticeship is not the only routeway into the industry.
I also have concerns around the focus on core occupational training, which is already available either directly from training providers, or through the established network of recognised CITB Training Groups, including the National Association of Shopfitters Training Group. I believe more focus should have been placed on specialist trades, including shopfitting, who have found the availability of sector-specific skills training declining, despite the investment through CITB Levy continuing at consistent rates, save the reductions during the pandemic. Our findings are that trades within the specialist sectors are returning lower and lower amounts in return for their Levy payments – which we are aiming to address as part of our 2022 Priorities.
The Business Plan therefore is very much a work in progress for the CITB and I think it would be reasonable to give the new Chief Executive time to make a real impact on the industry. I just feel this will come from being more ambitious and by understanding the needs of all aspects of the construction sector.