In April 2023, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) published its latest business plan, detailing how it intends to support employers in the sector by focussing investment worth £250 million on three central priorities.
Improving the recruitment pipeline
It is estimated that the construction industry has more than a million vacancies and the CITB’s Construction Skills Network report said that the sector would have to recruit an extra 45,000 each year until 2027 to meet demand. A more robust pipeline is therefore needed to provide much-needed talent and more direct access to the skilled jobs which are in danger of going unfilled.
However, there are significant barriers to achieving this, with the outdated perceptions of the construction industry one of the most detrimental to recruitment efforts.
The CITB says it will therefore invest in both new and existing initiatives, introduce a New Entrant Employer Support Team to make hiring apprentices easier and make investment available through Apprenticeship Attendance and Achievement Grants.
Skills and training pathways
Another area where the CITB has identified a need is in skills and training. A skills system that includes defined and flexible training pathways, with achievements recognised and validated through the Construction Training Register, will significantly enhance the ability of the industry to fill its skills gaps. In the coming year, the CITB will develop training pathways for one fifth of the additional skills demands. This will focus on the areas that have been identified as priorities, including the core occupational skills of bricklaying, carpentry and joinery.
Financial incentives will be provided to help businesses develop increased training provision both in-house and with providers.
Delivering an efficient training supply
Employers need to be certain that any training supply will be both efficient and reliable. The CITB has said that it will increase its grants and funding to boost training provision in the sector. It will invest over £100m into the grants scheme in the year to April 2024.
This will support employers with the cost of core skills training and will also expand the network of recognised training providers to ensure that the training which employers need for their workforce is available in the right place at the right time.
CITB also intends to invest nearly £30m into the National Construction College (NCC). This will help to increase the quality of training that the college provides and focus its efforts on areas where demand is currently not being met.
Additionally, and being aware of the need for management competencies, the CITB will continue with its investment programme in leadership training, ensuring employers have access to a skilled workforce at all levels of the sector.