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What lies behind the CITB's Pole position?

AGENDA - COMMENT

THERE will be a few eyebrows raised in the industry about CITB-ConstructionSkills' plan to jet off to Poland to offer construction workers health and safety tests.

The move allows Polish workers to start the CSCS skills card qualification process before they leave to work in the UK.

But surely the CITB has got more pressing issues in this country, spreading the training message to youngsters? Hardly a week goes by without new figures highlighting the shortfall in new recruits coming into the industry.

Its efforts should be concentrated on enticing more people into vocational training courses and encouraging contractors to offer more apprenticeships.

Eastern European workers have been a godsend for construction and have filled the skills gap created by a booming industry and a generation interested in other careers. The Government has stamped down on the exploitation of immigrant workers and the current system whereby they attain CSCS qualif ication here seems to work perfectly well.

In that light cynics could view the CITB's drive into Poland as purely a money-mak ing exercise because it owns the intellectual property rights to the safety test, which costs £17.50 to sit.