We all know our industry faces significant challenges to deliver its pipeline of work and raise its performance.
Crucial to this is attracting, developing and retraining skilled people. This will get harder with an ageing workforce and the likely change in approach to migrant workers as part of Brexit.
But we are focused on solutions and I want to outline how a reformed CITB will work hand in glove with construction and with government to deliver them.
Hitting the accelerator
The review being led by Paul Morell has indicated that the CITB should be retained but needs significant reform. As its new chief executive, I agree with this and have my foot down hard on the accelerator to make this happen. We still have to secure industry’s agreement to continue with the levy, but we are working hard to secure it this summer.
If we achieve this, we will have the launchpad to really make a difference. But more importantly, construction is now talking more seriously about modernisation and I will ensure that the CITB is a key part of that conversation.
This week at the Construction Leadership Council, with Mark Farmer’s vision of a modernised construction industry under debate, we will look at how to deliver it.
“This isn’t the first time construction has discussed modernisation and I am not the CITB’s first leader to promise reform”
I also shared our vision with the CLC for how a new CITB can work closely with our industry to help it to achieve its goals.
The first part of this is behaving differently. We will be much more transparent and accountable, working with employers to agree the outcomes we are targeting and the yardsticks to judge our success.
We will also be more responsive. To give you one example: for a much larger part of the funding we provide, we will work with industry to agree the outcomes and then commission bids to deliver them.
More to come
We are also reforming what we do and how we do it. We will now have a much sharper focus under the three headings of careers, standards and qualifications, and training and development. We will only intervene where we are best placed to make a difference. Last month’s sale of our awarding body – Cskills Awards – was a demonstration of this, but there will be more changes to come.
We will be more forward-looking and evidence-based in how we agree what needs to be done and how to go about it. For example, our report on offsite construction identified the skills and actions needed to realise its opportunities, while our migration research will give industry and government the evidence base to address this complex issue.
This isn’t the first time construction has discussed modernisation and I am not the CITB’s first leader to promise reform. But the prize for success and the risks from failure are now so great that we must act now.
Sarah Beale is chief executive of the CITB