BAM Nuttall to support CITB Consensus
Chief executive Steve Fox has confirmed that BAM Nuttall will support the CITB Consensus vote, arguing that disbanding the body would be a significant setback for skills development in the industry.
According to Fox, reform of CITB’s governance is “necessary” and “we do need confidence that this will be effective and transparent”.
He added: “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 highlights the breadth of work undertaken by CITB and the ecosystem of skills support, advice and delivery that the Board maintains on behalf of the industry:
- Developing and maintaining the construction standards on which NVQs and Apprenticeship frameworks are based.
- Supporting and coordinating 31 new ‘Trailblazer’ Apprenticeship standards, ensuring consistency, reducing duplication and making sure the standards are fit for purpose.
- Providing advice and guidance on skills to all construction businesses, particularly SMEs.
- Supporting a network of 80 independent training groups, providing cost effective training to more than 3000 construction businesses.
- Training and coordinating Construction Ambassadors across all sectors, supporting more than 2000 school engagement events and careers fairs.
- Awarding, funding and assuring National Skills Academies for Construction.
- Collating and publishing 5-year labour management information to identify skills shortages across sectors, regions and occupations.
- Working with major public infrastructure clients to develop skills strategies in the supply chain.
- Providing structural and flexible funds to support diversity programmes and tackle industry recruitment challenges.
- Engaging with Local Enterprise Partnerships, Regional Learning Partnerships in Wales, local and national government to influence decisions on skills strategy, investment and funding.
Much of this activity is unseen by large parts of the industry and goes unappreciated. Whilst larger construction organisations have dedicated teams to manage learning and development and might appear to manage training activity in-house, the delivery of training often relies on content or standards developed and maintained by CITB, a circumstance that ensures consistency across the industry. Furthermore, these same businesses rely on the supply chain to be equally well provided for, and this is where the delivery support of the CITB plays a crucial role.
The BAM Nuttall chief executive believes that laying blame for industry skills shortages at the door of the CITB is misguided.
Steve Fox said: “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. 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.”
He added: “We all acknowledge the need for reform and frankly, if we didn’t already have the CITB, the industry would need to invent it. The Apprenticeship Levy funding is far from being a replacement and no existing trade association or sector body has the pan-industry reach and funding mechanism to deliver what the CITB does, and more importantly could do, with the right governance and support. Let’s all take this opportunity to get behind the CITB and really ensure that we get what our industry wants and needs from it.”
Last month Balfour Beatty revealed that it is likely to vote against the continuation of the CITB because of a “fundamental weakness” in the training body.