Scaffolders and plant operators behind CITB U-turn

The urgent need to keep training courses for scaffolders and plant operators lay behind the Construction Industry Training Board’s surprise decision this week to hold on to its colleges.

The urgent need to keep training courses for scaffolders and plant operators lay behind the Construction Industry Training Board’s surprise decision this week to hold on to its colleges.

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) chair Peter Lauener told the Re:Construction podcast that the lack of commercial alternatives for specific training courses meant that the CITB had to continue to offer training directly.

He cited scaffolding, in particular, and also plant operators as the two training courses where there was inadequate supply in the commercial sector. The CITB's National Construction Colleges at Bircham Newton in Norfolk and Inchinnan in Glasgow are essential to the continued provision of these specific training courses, he said.

The CITB had been trying to sell its training colleges and quit the business of training altogether, as part of its Vision 2020 strategy. However, the economic situation meant that, despite interest, ultimately buyers could not be found for Bircham Newton or Inchinnan. [See previous report here.]

Peter Lauener denied that staying in training provision represented a U-turn for the organisation. He likened it more to a yachter tacking to navigate headwinds. He said that the board had no plans to return to market at a later date with a new attempt to sell the two colleges. As with any business, everything would always be kept under permanent review, he said, but the priority now was to ensure that the construction industry has continued access to the training it requires.

He also revealed that the CITB board has produced a new business plan to accommodate the extra costs of running the colleges, which had not been anticipated for the coming years. This will be published next week.

Peter Lauener was speaking to the Re:Construction podcast, Episode 55, 24th March 2021. Listen online at www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/podcast or subscribe for free at any of the usual outlets (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts etc).

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