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College in talks to get ban on enrolment lifted

NEWS - National Construction College fights to retrieve credibility after failing inspection

OWNERS of the National Construction College are desperately trying to get the ban on enrolling new trainees lifted.

College officials are holding urgent talks with City & Guilds after the inspection body imposed the ban last month.

The move means no new trainees can be enrolled at the NCC's network of five campuses.

And the body has also been banned from signing off trainees who have completed courses after it failed the City & Guilds inspection.

The NCC is the training division of CITB-Construction Skills. A spokesman said: 'We are taking this extremely seriously and are working with City & Guilds to regain a full set of accreditations. Our phones have been ringing off the hook over this and the situation is changing all the time. It's difficult to comment because the situation is fluid ? it's like nailing jelly to a wall.' The CITB spokesman refused to comment on why college failed its City & Guilds inspection although it is believed to have received a 'level three' sanction from the organisation.

The ban has sparked fury among contractors unable to register new people with the industry's largest training provider.

One piling firm said: 'We can't register our underpinning and piling operatives, which is bad enough, but the CITB has been trying to keep it quiet.

'There's nothing on their website about it and they are compounding their embarrassment over this by hoping no one will notice.' The suspension of its training colleges coincided with CITB-ConstructionSkills receiving final parliamentary approval last week to continue collecting the industry training levy. The House of Lords rubber-stamped the continuation of levy collection, which totalled £136 million from contractors last year.

Phil Pope, parliamentary undersecretary of state for education and skills said: 'It continues to be the collective view of employers that training should be funded through a statutory levy system in order to secure a sufficient pool of skilled labour.' One contractor said: 'Now they've got the go-ahead to collect our money again, perhaps they can sort out this college situation and actually let our people sign up for courses.'