The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is set to make a further 110 people redundant, as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is forecast to see its levy income fall by a third over the next three years.
CITB has opened a formal consultation with trade unions and employee representatives over its proposals, which will address the sustained loss in levy income associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, as the CITB says its proposed changes will allow the organisation to focus its expenditure on directly supporting construction employers with their key skills, training and apprenticeships needs.
The proposals would reduce the organisation’s payroll bill by 17%, saving £4.5m per year, with the proposals designed to:
- Protect front-line services to construction employers, with a proportionately greater reduction in back-office and management roles;
- Ensure that CITB is financially sustainable given its lower income, able to respond quickly to industry’s needs and is efficient in its operations. For example, CITB will continue its Covid-19 approach of supporting employers over digital channels and by phone rather than relying heavily on face-to-face support;
- Amalgamate CITB’s two field teams – partnerships and apprenticeships – to deliver a fully joined-up service to local partners. This approach will be tailored separately to the different needs in England, Scotland and Wales.
The proposed reduction of 110 roles and the saving of £4.5m per year are in addition to the continuing implementation of the changes in CITB’s Vision 2020 programme which included the divestment of industry card schemes and the National Construction College.
Due to the pandemic, CITB announced a suspension of levy collection and a halving of next year’s payment – a reduction of £242.1m in levy income over three years. Communication with industry by the Construction Leadership Council, CITB and partners since March, says the CITB, has shown that employers want resources put into protecting existing skills, prioritising direct employer funding and apprenticeships.
Sarah Beale, CITB chief executive, said: “CITB started the year with an agreed business plan and budget, but the impact of Covid-19 has been severe. Our response – advancing apprenticeship grants and cutting levy bills – was critical to support construction employers during the crisis. But the combination of less industry activity and lower levy rates has reduced our forecast income over this three year period. We have to cut back our back-office and management costs to maintain a constant focus on giving construction employers the direct support that they need.
“It is deeply distressing to have to propose losing so many valued and committed colleagues. Everyone in the CITB team has really impressed me with their incredible efforts in helping the industry adapt to our changed situation and in delivering outstanding work to our customers. I would much rather not be in this position, but our duty is to support and be accountable to the construction industry and that is where we must focus.”
CITB aims to implement the proposed changes by the end of 2020 and to continue to deliver it’s 2020/21 business plan, the Skills Stability Plan. It will launch a four year strategic plan, covering 2021-25 in late September.