Last edited 11 Jul 2017

Construction Industry Training Board CITB

Citb logo 310.jpg

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) was created on 21 July 1964 by the Industrial Training Act which gave the government the power to create industrial training boards (ITB) responsible for training in UK industries, setting standards and providing advice.

The Act gives CITB a mandate to collect a levy from construction employers and to use this to support training and skills in construction.

CITB is a non-departmental public body that reports to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It is a social enterprise and charity and any profits made are used to support the industry.

CITB has a vision of a construction industry where skills and competence are at the forefront and at the core of every construction firm, company or business.

It describes its main roles as:

  • Ensuring there is an adequate supply of correctly trained and qualified people at all levels within the construction industry.
  • Helping improve the efficiency and quality of industrial training.
  • Sharing the cost of training evenly across the industry.
  • Helping shape the construction industry.
  • Attracting the best and brightest talent.
  • Training 30,000 workers each year.
  • Supporting existing workers.
  • Helping businesses take advantage of opportunities.
  • Understanding changes to legislation.

Services provided through the levy system include:

  • Providing financial support to employers.
  • Providing guidance for employers about training needs.
  • Providing information and advice for those seeking careers in construction.
  • Researching the construction industry.
  • Undertaking labour market forecasting to anticipate and prepare for skills needed.
  • Providing standards and qualifications for the industry.
  • Providing specialist facilities and training services.

The board is made up of a Chair and equal representation from employers and workers. Representatives from the educational sector and sponsors also attend board meetings.

CITB products and services include:

  • Ofsted apprenticeships.
  • Training through the National Construction College (NCC).
  • Training through the National Specialist Accredited Centre (NSAC).
  • Accreditation and rewards through CSkills Awards and a specialist CITB team.
  • Publications.
  • Cards and testing.

Since 2003 the CITB, Construction Industry Council (CIC) and CITB have worked in partnership as ConstructionSkills. ConstructionSkills main areas of focus include:

  • Apprenticeships.
  • Competence.
  • Card schemes.
  • Management and supervision.
  • Low-carbon initiatives.
  • Careers development.

Read our interview with CITB CEO Sarah Beale here.

CITB plans to continue working in partnership with the industry and its stakeholders to deliver its vision. They wish to review the efficiency of the industry and improve IT facilities to provide better services to workers. They also intend to increase grants and funding support and make them more accessible.

In August 2015, the government launched a consultation process for a new apprenticeships levy that will apply to the construction industry. This may threaten the continued role of the CITB. See Apprenticeships levy for more information.

A proposal which would involve large employers paying a levy on their PAYE payroll into the BIS fund, while a levy on their labour-only subcontractors would be paid to the CITB, was backed by 59% of 212 large employers surveyed by the CITB. Ref Construction Manager 13 October.

In George Osborne's November 2015 Spending Review, a new national apprenticeship levy was announced, to come into effect in April 2017. Concerns have been raised as to the impact this may have on the income of the CITB.

Responding to the levy, James Wates, CITB chairman said: "While the announcement regarding the Apprenticeship Levy creates a challenging environment for CITB across Great Britain, we will continue to support industry and work with government to ensure the best possible outcome. Our next step is to engage in extensive consultation with employers and work out the most effective way to continue providing the construction industry with the skills and training it needs.”

In January 2016, it was announced that 46 staff would be cut, following previous staff reductions in 2015, with CITB suggesting that, “...many find the organisation too slow and difficult to deal with.... These reforms are designed to give the industry maximum return on Levy investment, and a much better service from CITB. Employers will start to see the difference in 2016 and our aim is to have many more construction firms not only engage with us, but get the funding and support they need.”

In February 2016, CITB announced it would reduce its staff numbers from 1,400 to around 950 over the next three years.

In 2016, Hudson Contract Services launched a judicial review against the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) in relation to the CITB levy saying; "The levy is intended to fund training, yet the CITB admits that there is no requirement that they actually spend a single penny on training. If they choose, they can use all the money to cover their board's expenses." In April 2016, the Royal Courts of Justice rejected the challenge.

In May 2016, CITB announced it was considering transitional arrangements involving a rebate to large contractors to ensure that they did not have to pay two levies. An announcement is expected in July.

In October 2016, the Farmer Review recommended that the CITB should be comprehensively reviewed and reformed. Following this, the government called in ex-government chief construction adviser Paul Morrell to advise on a review of CITB and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).

CITB policy director Steve Radley said, “The Farmer report and this review raise a number of important questions about how to transform the performance and productivity of construction, and how CITB needs to reform to support this. It’s excellent news that Paul Morrell has been appointed to advise, as he knows the industry inside and out."

In January 2017, in what was seen by some as a bid for survival, CITB launched a consultation about proposed changes to the levy, including a reduction in the PAYE Levy on the direct workforce cut from 0.5% to 0.35%.

On 21 February, the government launched a consultation into the effectiveness of the CITB and ECITB and their role after the apprenticeship levy starts in April 2017. Responses were required by 21 March.

On 26 May, it was announced that CITB had sold its awarding body, Cskills Awards, to NOCN.

In July 2017, it was announced that interim Chief Executive Sarah Beale had been made permanent, and a letter from Skills Minister Anne Milton, Housing Minister Alok Sharma, and Industrial Strategy Minister Lord Prior to CITB Chair James Wates gave support to the future of the CITB, saying; “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.... 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." Ref

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