While the CITB looks to have gathered enough support from other industry trade associations to secure renewal of its mandate for an industry training levy, the Home Builders Federation (HBF) has declared ‘no confidence’ in the current set-up.
The HBF reports that 89% of its members voted against CITB continuing as the lead body for construction training.
The result of HBF members’ engagement with the statutory ‘consensus process’ comes ahead of the industry launching its own ‘Home Building Skills Pledge’ later this week. The Skills Pledge commits companies to working together and with subcontractors to recruit and train more people to the highest industry-agreed standards. All of HBF’s larger members have signed up, alongside several medium and small members – meaning companies responsible for well over half the homes built in England are already committed.
The Skills Pledge is the latest initiative to come out of the Home Building Skills Partnership, set up 18 months ago to address industry’s skills shortages.
Frustration with CITB bureaucracy has been increasing within the house-building industry for some years, the HBF says, and the introduction of the government’s apprenticeship levy means that many companies are being taxed twice for skills provision.
HBF’s larger members complain of having to employ staff specifically to claw back only a fraction of the money paid through their own levy payments from CITB for training. Smaller members don’t have the capacity to do this so they miss out. These frustrations have been compounded by CITB’s proposal to focus more narrowly on ‘core construction’ skills, meaning that while house-builders will pay levy in respect of their whole workforce they risk being able to obtain support for a smaller proportion of their workers than they do now, the HBF says.
HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “The vote demonstrates the frustrations house builders feel with CITB and the training regime currently in place. The industry simply does not feel that CITB is providing the support and framework it needs to train its staff despite the huge amounts being paid in levy by home builders.
“House-builders desperately need a training body focused on its requirements with which it can work closely to develop training regimes that are easily accessible to companies large and small. We hope this will be the wake-up call CITB needs to drive root and branch change through its entire organisation.
“If we are to develop the capacity to build the high quality homes the country desperately needs, the industry must recruit and train more people. The launch of our Home Building Skills Pledge is a clear demonstration of the industry’s commitment to investing in its training needs now and in the future.”