Ministers show support for reformed CITB
The UK government has reaffirmed its support for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) that its future is secure just so long as it continues its programme of reform.
Three ministers have written to James Wates CBE to tell him they back the training body, just as the construction industry decides whether or not to support the introduction of the apprentice levy.
The letter, which was co-signed by skills minister Anne Milton, housing minister Alok Sharma, and industrial strategy minister Lord Prior, acts as an interim statement on the review of Industrial Training Boards, due to be published in full in October.
In it, they outline why they support CITB continuing to have levy-raising powers, and why they think employers should back the new levy proposal in the ongoing Consensus vote.
The ministers said: “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.
“As Mark Farmer set out starkly in his report last year, the construction industry faces some very significant challenges over the coming years, including improving productivity, increasing house-building, and making sure it develops the workforce with the skills it will need in the coming decades.
“We support his conclusion that the CITB has an important role to play in supporting the industry to meet those challenges.”
The ministers outlined why continued government support for CITB is dependent upon its reform programme continuing.
They wrote: “We also have to acknowledge…concern across the industry about the effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness of the CITB.
“CITB 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, CITB chairman, James Wates CBE, 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.”
To read the ministers’ letter, please click here.