CITB simplifies access to construction training funds

Phil Ford

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) will make it easier for employers to apply for training funding for their staff by simplifying the application system, making it faster and more efficient to apply and reducing the 40 current flexible funding streams to just two.

The changes are in response to a consultation with over 800 construction employers of all sizes as well as industry federations. Two categories of flexible funding (in addition to the existing grant funding scheme) to replace the current complex flexible funding system which the consultation identified as creating confusion and discouraging firms from applying for funds.

From September 2015 the two new categories of flexible funding will be:

The Flexible fund – Short term funding designed for projects less than 18 months in duration. It will enable CITB to respond to industry needs quickly and adaptably.

The Structured fund – Long term funding designed to support projects longer than 18 months. It will fund projects that help employers to find long term solutions to the industry’s major skills challenges.

The new flexible funding streams will distribute £20 million between them annually, in addition to £140 million which CITB distributes via Grant Funding, which is not affected by this announcement. A review of grant funding is ongoing with an announcement due in early 2016. 

Later in the year CITB will be rolling out a new industry image and recruitment campaign. 

Phil Ford, Strategic Partnerships Director (Scotland) at CITB said, “Industry has told us that accessing CITB’s funding was overly complicated and bureaucratic. We have responded by introducing a system that is clearer, more transparent and straightforward. We are also putting robust evaluation in place to ensure that the funding we distribute has clear benefits and that we only fund what works.

“But getting the funding right is only half of the solution. This new approach is underpinned by robust analysis of industry’s skills needs. It is only by understanding which skills will make the greatest difference that we can target funding appropriately and enable the construction industry to develop and grow.”

Throughout the process, CITB have worked alongside an industry advisory group. They have helped to shape the proposals and ensure that they will deliver real improvements for employers.

Tim Peach, Head of Operations at Lend Lease who chaired the advisory group for the review added, “These changes will make it easier for construction firms to invest in the training and development of our people, with funding that is simpler to access and better matches industry needs. Construction can only reach its growth potential by improving skills and training where it is needed most, and the new approach to flexible funding will help make that possible.”