Unite union says demise of CITB training will create skills black hole

Unite, CITB, training, BESA, Tony Howard, skill gap

The UK’s largest trade union, Unite, has said that a decision by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to end all direct training services by 2020 will “create a skills black hole”.

It comes after the CITB published its three-year strategy at the end of 2017 entitled ‘Vision 2020: The Future CITB‘.

It warned that due to staff reductions and relocation of its head office and training centre away from Bircham Newton, the CITB would no longer be able to provide training directly.

BESA director of training, Tony Howard says: “This does raise some concerns over the ‘trainer of last resort’ area that CITB has always filled. Their training location is capable of processing high volumes of training at short notice, and delivering training that is unaffordable for other providers. Stopping this would make it very hard to ever replace.”

He adds that BESA is tackling the sector’s skill gap by offering training courses that CITB no longer offers such as F gas.

Unite national officer for construction, Jerry Swain said: “Much of the direct training provided by the CITB is absolutely unique. If no one picks this up there is a real danger that the UK will not have the necessary skilled workforce to maintain a buoyant construction industry.”

Unite has now said it will write to the relevant government ministers about its concerns. Tony Howard adds that BESA continues to monitor the emerging picture.

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