This year, CITB will seek industry consent again to continue with this unfair system. We believe the industry training board, which dates back to 1964, is no longer fit for purpose and needs major reform. That’s why we are launching the biggest-ever independent survey of business views on CITB’s levy and grant scheme. We are asking our customer base of 2,200 construction SMEs about their experience of the scheme and its effectiveness.
We are democratising the ‘consensus’ process and giving a voice to the dynamic owner-managed businesses, the lifeblood of our sector. These are the companies that are subjected to the levy and are expected to stand in line, bowl in hand, in the hope of being handed a grant. It’s time to hear their opinions. We are confident the verdict won’t make pretty reading for CITB or the major contractors which do very nicely out of the grant scheme.
In 2016, we commissioned market research firm YouGov to survey construction SMEs. It found that six out of 10 levy payers provide training without CITB grant funding while just one in 10 respondents received levy grant payments. Even the Government has admitted the training board isn’t up to the task. In 2017, Ministers called for wide-ranging reforms so CITB is more focused, efficient and responsive, including to small employers. The Department of Education promised a progress report for October 2019 but this is yet to materialise.
We can’t wait forever. The levy and grant system needs a massive overhaul to meet the needs of our sector. We are developing an alternative model and will be consulting with our clients on our proposals. These will reduce costs for industry, cut red tape, put more money into government coffers and, most importantly, improve outcomes for training and health and safety in the construction industry. More details will follow soon.
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