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Call for applications – plant operators training commission

Hundreds of plant operatives and assessors are to be trained up as part of a new three-year initiative from CITB. 

Thirty-nine per cent of employers find it difficult to fill plant vacancies, according to Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) research, and with Brexit potentially limiting a supply of new recruits in future, CITB is seeking to support projects that mitigate the shortfall.   

Construction employers, trade bodies and training providers are all being asked to submit proposals to help address a gap between industry demand and supply.  

The CPA; Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA); Hire Association Europe (HAE); Build UK; Highways England; HS2; West Midlands Combined Authority; Balfour Beatty; BAM Nuttall; Willmott Dixon; Flannery Plant Hire; Lynch Plant; Hire A-Plant; and Plantforce are among industry stakeholders that shaped CITB’s plant operators training commission. 

Training in plant specialisms is currently low, with only 149 N/SVQ Level 2 qualifications in plant specialisms gained in 2016, while a CPA survey showed that more than 80% of respondents didn’t employ any plant apprentices and a further nine out of 10 employers didn’t expect to take any on in the next 12 months.

With plant training necessarily using expensive equipment, projects that make use of innovative methods such as simulators are also sought. Other sectors such as health, aviation and the armed forces have seen learners with simulators spending 40% more time at the controls – instead of standing around watching others practice on real machines. 

Steve Radley, CITB Policy Director, said: “Employers have been clear that more plant operatives and trainers are needed to tackle the skills shortage. This commission will help support training provision to the sector both now and in the future.”  

The deadline for applications is 28 February 2020. 

Find out more about the plant operators training commission