Extra CITB funding only half the battle
If the Government wants to tackle the construction skills shortage, it must support SMEs.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced that apprenticeship funding will increase by 30%.
From 1 April 2019, CITB attendance grants given to employers will increase to £2,500 per year. In addition, employer achievement grants will rise to £3,500 once apprentices have successfully completed their training.
Overall this reflects an increase from £10,250 to £14,500 for each apprentice an employer takes on.
The CITB has been reforming many of their processes, including how funding is accessed and how courses are supported. The additional funding will therefore go a long way to convince more businesses to train new staff.
However, unless construction companies are able to access a pipeline of opportunities and see certainty in the procedures which physically allow them to start working on projects, many new apprentices will end up without long term employment and worse still, leave the industry for good.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “More money to train apprentices will help SMEs with the cost of training but the CITB can only do so much. If a company doesn’t have a pipeline of work, they are less likely to take on new staff.
“If the Government wants to tackle the construction skills shortage, it must support SMEs, since they train two out of three construction apprentices. This means making procurement fairer, planning simpler and late payment a thing of the past. Without tackling the real barriers, the Government is bailing out a barge with a ladle.”