Trade bodies back need for training levy

Grant Prior 13 years ago

Leading trade bodies have pledged their support for CITB-ConstructionSkills and the levy system as the training body faces a radical revamp by the government.

CITB chiefs have been in talks with the trade federations as pressure mounts on the training organisation to deliver value for money.

Dave Campbell from the British Woodworking Federation said:  “Our members still see the levy as a vital tool for ensuring an ever qualified and fully trained workforce – it’s a real asset to our members.

“We appreciate the difficult economic times CITB-ConstructionSkills finds itself in, and we are confident that the new Grants Scheme, though scaled back, will continue to allow our members to invest in training over the coming years.”

Stephen Ratcliffe, Director of major contractors’ group UKCG said, “I can confirm that UKCG continues to support the operation of a statutory levy and grants system.

“We have greatly valued Mark Farrar’s contribution since he took over as Chief Executive and share his goals and aspirations for the future of CITB-ConstructionSkills.”

But not all trade bodies are so supportive with the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors among the most vocal critics.

Chief executive Paul Jessop has attacked the training body for its “appalling record of inefficiency.”

The government will decide next month whether to go-ahead with plans to privatise the CITB.

James Wates, Chairman of the Industry Training Board and Sector Skills Council said: “We value the opinions of our industry leaders and so while we are pleased to hear that they continue to support the levy, we acknowledge that there are areas of our business that need urgent attention.

“We are not going to be complacent. We have already made changes to the Grants Scheme to reflect falls in levy – but we’ve also restructured the organisation, streamlined our processes and reduced our headcount.

“We’ve listened to the views of our federations and their members and we’re in the process of putting together a manifesto for further change, which will respond to the feedback we’ve got.

“More than ever before, we need to work together to face the change that’s coming our way. We’re up to the challenge, and we have the support of our consensus federations, but we need our industry to unite so that we can meet the challenges head on.”

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