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FMB says CITB’s future dependent on fundamental change



The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has backed the government’s decision to support the continuation of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton wrote to CITB Chairman, James Wates, to inform him of the government’s decision to allow the organisation to continue hold levy-raising powers.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Most people agree that the CITB had lost its way but scrapping it all together would only make the construction skills crisis worse. What we now want to see is for the CITB leadership to embrace a culture of change until we’ve reformed the organisation from head to toe.”

The government’s review of the CITB was due to be published in the spring but the Prime Minister’s decision to call a snap General Election means that the report is now due to appear in October.

It was envisaged the reports finding would be made known before the construction industry voted on the CITB’s levy proposals this summer.

Mr Berry commented: “It’s slightly frustrating that we won’t see the detailed content of the Government’s CITB review until after the consensus process has come to an end. We are particularly keen to see some recommendations regarding the need for a governance review as the current structure is not fit-for-purpose.

He was also critical of the under-representation of SMEs within the organisation and called on trade federations to put aside their own needs in order to focus on the health of the construction industry as a whole.

Mr Berry said: “When you look at the make-up of our industry, 99% of firms are small and medium-sized (SME) companies but we don’t see that reflected on either the Board or the Council. We recognise and support the need for a streamlined Board of competencies but the CITB will continue to flounder until it is properly representative. For too long, major contractors have called the shots and although they have an important role to play, their role has been inflated – especially when you consider that it’s the small firms that carry out the bulk of the training in our industry.

“Other important reforms include the need for employers and their trade federations to break away from the “tit for tat” mind set. The CITB levy and grant system is about each employer making a proportionate financial contribution towards the overall skills needs of the construction industry – it is not about individual organisations trying to draw down every penny it has paid in levy for their own gain. For the levy and grant system to work effectively in addressing the construction skills crisis, and for the industry to work constructively with the CITB exec, we need to break away from this detrimental mind-set.”

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