Opinion: CITB must spend more cash on training

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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The government has walked into a long-running industry row with its desire to revamp CITB-ConstructionSkills.

Not many people have a kind word to say about the training body. But even fewer have a realistic plan to replace it.

Now the government is muttering about “privatisation” as part of its bonfire of the quangos and has set a November deadline to come up with an alternative structure.

But how can you privatise a body whose entire existence is reliant on an industry-wide levy enforced by statute?

A better solution would be a streamlining of the CITB to make it more focused on actually providing training.

CITB-ConstructionSkills is a bit like a charity which has forgotten its main purpose in life.

It has got too caught up in bureaucracy and self-promotion rather like those fund raisers who bother you in the street or on the phone in the evening.

Popular charities now make great play of the fact that the vast percentage of their income goes to good causes.

CITB should be made to take the same tack when it comes to training – then most of its opponents would melt away over night.

The brutal truth is that the industry needs the CITB now more than ever.

Losing the organisation during a downturn would prove a toxic mix for training and undoubtedly lead to yet another skills shortage when the industry picks up.

Privatisation has many merits and this government will come to rely on the model more and more as its time in power progresses.

But it won’t work for such a unique case as the CITB.

A return to the organisation’s roots is required which will slash bureaucracy and increase the amount of funding which finds its way back into contractors’ pockets.

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