CITB vows to support construction workers during Covid-19 pandemic

THE Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has vowed to support the industry during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

In a letter to its members, Sarah Beale, chief executive of CITB, wrote, “At CITB we are focused on skills and training and during this time we will be doing all we can to support the industry to protect those skills for when things return to normal, hopefully in the not too distant future.”

The chief executive continued by writing that CITB remains committed to ‘protect’ the construction industry as best as they can alongside their industry partners and UK Government to ‘make sure construction’s voice is heard and listened to’.

She continued by revealing which areas, based on the responses from their members, CITB should focus on. Sarah Beale wrote:

Support for apprentices – having provided support for apprentices in previous crisis situations and during Carillion’s collapse, we are assessing what practical support may be required now and in the coming weeks and months to ensure we secure the future for any impacted apprentices. There is no need for you to take any additional action on apprenticeships at this moment.

“Signposting for employers – we are collaborating with federations and employer bodies to compile an agreed list of the best support agencies who are available to assist employers, their workers and supply chain with advice on staff issues, and other business support including sick pay. Once completed this will be circulated widely and be available on the dedicated website page and our social media platforms.

“Guidance for keeping sites working – as we develop good practice for running sites in these conditions,  we will publish Toolbox Talks and other learning materials that will help employers keep sites running during this pandemic.

“Time bound qualifications and cards – card schemes are urging site managers to show appropriate lenience to those with cards expired from mid-March and have relaxed renewal windows. CITB has waived some of the fees for rescheduling or cancelling HS&E tests and for the duration of this crisis we will  accept SSSTS and SMSTS renewals beyond expiry.”

As of 20 March, CITB’s National Construction College in Renfrewshire will close, alongside the other three colleges in England. The training board’s spring roadshow, which was due to be held in Glasgow on 24 March and Edinburgh on 25 March, has been cancelled. A series of online webinars will now act as an alternative to the roadshow.

Sarah Beale added, “The construction industry will receive our support throughout this crisis. In addition to the measures we are taking so far we will continually review this in line with Government actions and adapt as necessary during this fast-moving situation.”