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Covid-19: CITB chief exec update - 26 August 2020

Good afternoon,

I hope you’re having a good week. Today’s email contains important information on grant changes; a reminder about the Construction Talent Retention Scheme; news of free mental wellbeing training; and, finally, proposed changes to CITB’s size and structure. 

Following the decision in June to cut Levy bills by 25% across the next two years, CITB has seen its income reduce by £166m. Despite this reduced income, we have accelerated Apprenticeship Grants and prioritised Apprenticeship Support and Direct Employer Funding within our Skills Stability Plan.  The immediate support we have been able to make available, together with the ongoing impact of Covid-19, has had a severe impact to CITB’s financial position.

As we move forward, it will therefore be more essential than ever that we continue to scrutinise the grants that we provide to support areas of greatest value to industry. This will ensure we invest industry funds correctly and with restricted funding, protect priority areas. We are therefore making the following changes to existing grants:

Degree-Placement Work Experience Grant

The Degree-Placement Work Experience Grant was claimed by only 108 employers last year, with half of those claiming less than £10,000. As a result, we are introducing a cap of £10,000 for each employer to claim for training undertaken from 1 April 2020 – 30 September 2021, with the eventual removal of the grant from 1 October 2021. Further details are available including deadlines to submit your application.

Plant Additional Unit Achievement Grant

Under the 2018 Grant Scheme Review, the Additional Unit Grant was highlighted as requiring review however this was not undertaken at the time. Whilst the review has not been carried out, in the current climate this additional grant cannot continue to be supported. This grant is therefore being withdrawn from 1 October 2020. See the short-period qualification grants page for further information.

We recognise the importance of funding to the plant sector and continue to invest significant levels. The full Plant Operations NVQs, short courses for plant related training, and CPCS theory and practical tests continue to be eligible for grant funding, and we will of course, continue to fund Plant Apprenticeship grants.

Those most adversely affected by the changes have already been notified. These difficult decisions have been made to enable us to continue to meet our obligations and support our industry. 

Construction Talent Retention Scheme

Following the successful launch of the Talent Retention Scheme last month, we continue to work with the Construction Leadership Council and other partners to develop this initiative. To be the success we need it to be and secure ongoing support, we are encouraging as many employers and people looking for roles as possible to register on the platform.  

If you missed the webinars that were hosted at launch, these can still be viewed, alongside a short introductory video.

Mental wellbeing training through the Lighthouse Club

Launched during Mental Health Awareness week in May, the Lighthouse Club has extended their series of free workshops for the rest of the year. The online ‘Wellbeing Sessions’ provide an introduction into important subjects, such as coping with stress and mindfulness, as well as CV writing and interview preparation.

There are many benefits to mental wellbeing training, find out more and register your interest.

Proposed changes at CITB 

CITB announced yesterday a formal consultation with trade unions and employee representatives over proposals to reduce staffing levels, reflecting the ongoing impact Covid-19 has had on construction and for CITB, the projected significant reduction in Levy over the next three years. The proposed changes to CITB’s size and structure will allow us to focus expenditure on directly supporting construction employers with their key needs. We remain committed to working with construction partners and to the delivery of our current Skills Stability Plan. We will launch a four-year strategic plan covering 2021-25 in late September.

A reminder… 

CITB’s COVID-19 Urgent Messages page is refreshed daily and includes updates on the full range of our work. You can also read the range of support measures  made available to UK businesses and employees by the UK Government.  

Finally, I would like to wish you all a restful Bank Holiday weekend.

Kind wishes,  

Sarah Beale
Chief Executive