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CN Briefing: CITB reform, Crossrail 2 and prison

Ah, the good old CITB. Depending on your preference it’s either the Construction Industry Training Board or a crumbling institution, tired and broken.

One thing that unites the entire industry is that this is an organisation that (still) needs to modernise and reform.

Since the Industrial Training Act amendment in 1982 allowed the CITB to collect a levy, it has been a controversial way of funding training.

Consider this anonymous response to our exclusive story today on their funding reforms: About time! They have spent too long hiding behind the self-made bureaucracy to provide themselves with cushy numbers. The supply chain provides most of the income while the main contractors are able to use the funds. This must stop!

CEO Adrian Belton has been at the helm for 16 months now, not long enough to turn around the organisation when you consider the depth of change needed to better reflect, or promote, a modern and economically integral industry.

He told us last year that CITB had been “off-pace for the past few years in many people’s eyes and is in need of reform”.

And a slimmed-down board and more pro-active stance to training, coupled with good forecasting work being done in the likes of London and Manchester, are positive steps.

Now it’s crunch time. This organisation needs to move with the times and today they’ve set out the first part of that strategy in an exclusive interview with Construction News.

They say they’re going to listen more. They say they’ll work harder to identify genuine training needs (and potentially offer greater reward for contractors who train people in specific occupational shortages). They say it will be easier for organisations to receive advice and make applications for funding that will make a genuine difference.

It all smacks of an organisation that knows it’s in a fight for its future. The question is will it be enough to convince this government that it should continue to run the levy, which brought in £161.1m in 2014 (2013 £169.7m), independent of the new national apprenticeship levy.

Director of policy Steve Radley offers an insight into how the argument in favour of retaining the levy is being made to government by CITB officials.

He talks about the levy grant not simply being for apprenticeships, but also about funding initiatives in areas like improving the industry’s image.

Perhaps there’s an argument for an organisation looking specifically at non-apprentice issues, like diversity (more of that on Friday on, image and recruitment from other industries.

So levy or not, perhaps there’s a life for CITB in some guise regardless of the outcome of the November spending review.

The CITB’s ambition is that “…the construction sector will become world class through our support for skills and training – making it one of the most highly skilled, productive, safe and sustainable industries in the world.”

Let’s get on with it.

Got 5 minutes?

Crossrail 2! It’s coming!

Got 10 minutes?

We sent features editor Dan Kemp to prison. But he couldn’t get away from construction (and some fine work being done by the Bounce Back Foundation)

Online tomorrow:

Over the stump: CN speaks to developer Peter Rogers in the new London office of Lipton Rogers. He has quite a bit to say on the Pinnacle’s replacement, the role of contractors versus architects and the French.

Eat or be eaten: an exclusive report that we can’t say much more about until the morning.




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