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CITB to develop offsite manufacture training courses

 

The CITB has announced plans to deliver training in offsite construction as part of measures to plug skills gaps in the industry. 

The training body is looking to work with the industry to devise new training courses and qualifications linked to the CITB grant that will help upskill the next generation of apprentices.

The CITB’s plans come as research by the organisation into offsite manufacture found that half of construction clients and more than 40 per cent of construction firms expected to be utilising the method in some form within five years.

Its white paper into future productivity and skills in the sector, titled Faster, smarter, more efficient: building skills for offsite construction, also found that the majority of construction firms expected the use of precast concrete panels to increase and 91 per cent said the same for precast concrete frames.

The report follows a number of recommendations made by chief executive of cast consultancy and industry expert Mark Farmer, who led a government-backed review into construction skills issues.

Mr Farmer said: “Any strategic shift towards pre-manufacturing and offsite construction creates an immediate requirement to define our future skills needs through collaboration between industry, educators, training providers and government.

“This is crucial to ensuring we can transition to a higher productivity, digitally enabled industry which inherently attracts more of the young talent we so desperately need.

“It should also set out clear opportunities for the existing construction workforce and indeed workers from other industries to reskill through a new family of career pathways.”

The plans would see the CITB work with industry to develop new qualification units and standalone knowledge courses, link new standards and qualifications to the CITB training grants, support the development of bespoke teaching materials for schools as well as further education and higher education colleges, and promote offsite training to encourage the uptake of standardised courses.

Its proposals come weeks after the introduction of the government’s apprenticeship levy, which will see a range of trailblazer standards introduced over the coming years to replace SASE apprenticeships.

However, the trailblazer standards do not currently include any provision for training offsite production skills.

CITB director of policy Steve Radley said: “Successful offsite management hinges on the effective integration of both onsite and offsite functions – and this requires a comprehensive understanding of both aspects.

“Our next steps will focus on the delivery of the required employer training, knowledge and soft skills, tailored specifically to the six key areas identified in the report.

“This will also include a review of the available training and qualifications to make sure we address any gaps and issues.

“We will also work with other stakeholders – such as in design and manufacturing – to apply existing training in a construction context.

“We will step up our promotion of the career opportunities offsite can offer, emphasising digital skills, to attract a wider pool of people into these key roles.”

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