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Osborne Boss Weighs in on CITB

This week, Construction News, covered a story about the CITB.

“Osborne chief executive Andy Steele has confirmed the contractor will be voting for the continuation of the CITB, Construction News can reveal.

Next month, the industry will cast ballots in a triennial consensus vote on whether to scrap the CITB’s training levy or keep it in place.

The CITB needs at least half of the industry’s backing in order to secure its future and continue collecting funds from firms past next April.

Mr Steele has confirmed that Osborne will be voting to keep the CITB in place and said the wider industry could do more to assist the training body.

He said: “This is the only training body of its kind: we must not take it for granted.

“We must recognise the important work they do for the industry and not let it be invisible.”

He said the CITB needs reforming to “deliver the results that the industry is looking for”.

Leaders from Bam Nuttall and Mace have come out in favour of voting to keep the CITB in place.

Last week, Bam Nuttall chief executive Steve Fox confirmed that the contractor would be standing by the organisation.

Mr Fox said although a reform of the CITB was necessary, much of its work was “unseen by large parts of the industry” and went “underappreciated”.
“If we didn’t already have the CITB, the industry would need to invent it,” he said.
“The apprenticeship levy funding is far from being a replacement and no existing trade association or sector body has the pan-industry reach and funding mechanism to deliver what the CITB does, and more importantly could do, with the right governance and support.”

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds also told Construction News last week that his firm intended to vote in support of a “reformed CITB” as part of Build UK’s consensus vote.
However, other industry leaders have indicated they will vote against supporting the organisation.

Earlier this month, Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn said his firm is likely to vote against the continuation of the CITB.

Mr Quinn, whose company is believed to be the CITB’s biggest levy-payer, said construction’s current skills shortage proved that the CITB was not delivering on its remit to create the skills the industry needed.
He said: “To justify its continued existence alongside the wider apprenticeship levy, the CITB levy must deliver what its levy-payers – let alone the UK as a whole – critically need: the newly skilled workers to upgrade our infrastructure.
“Based on the information released by the CITB to date, we have little basis for confidence and strongly believe this is too important to leave to chance.”

However, Mace’s Mr Reynolds branded Mr Quinn’s comments “reckless” and “unhelpful”, arguing that the Balfour boss was wrong to “go it alone” without the backing of the Construction Leadership Council or Balfour’s consensus body, Build UK.

Major housebuilders are also set to vote against the CITB levy, as revealed by Construction News last week.
A spokesman for the HBF told CN: “Sections of the housebuilding industry have been frustrated with the CITB’s performance in recent years and we need to ensure that whatever emerges from this process better enables housebuilders to train the people it needs to deliver the homes of the future.
“We will be polling members with regards to how we as an industry vote and will be led by them accordingly.
“This is a key decision for the construction industry as a whole in terms of how we manage training in the future.”

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