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CITB extends support for apprentices through Covid-19

CITB is offering support to help find a new employer for any displaced apprentice as part of a raft of new measures to keep skills within industry.   

Any construction apprentice is now eligible to receive CITB support if they lose their job or apprenticeship. This means around 11,000 apprentices across the construction industry, more than the 7,000 currently contracted with CITB, and their levy-registered employers can benefit from: 

  • job redeployment services, including through the Construction Talent Retention Scheme
  • reallocation of grant funding to a new employer to help apprentices to complete their training if at risk
  • the apprenticeships information and reporting app
  • pastoral support
  • shared apprenticeship schemes 

Sixty per cent of construction companies in the Construction Leadership Council’s People Survey said they would take on fewer apprentices at the next intake later this year. Approximately a quarter of construction’s 11,000 apprentices across the country are furloughed.

CITB’s dedicated support team will look to find a new employer for any displaced apprentice, through local industry contacts or by registering them with the Construction Leadership Council’s recently-launched Construction Talent Retention Scheme, which redeploys displaced apprentices and industry operatives. 

If an employer is unable to help an apprentice complete their training amid current circumstances, CITB will help to find a new employer and also reallocate grant funding to them to support training through to completion, and with the help of Further Education (FE) partners and providers also assist with employment opportunities.  

To prevent apprentice redundancies and encourage more employers to take them on, CITB is investing a total of £1million in shared apprenticeship schemes in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Usually, apprentices work for one employer throughout their training. At present this may not be possible. CITB will use shared schemes to place apprentices with different construction companies, providing a range of experience and skills while allowing employers to continue supporting apprenticeships through short-term placements. 

Many contracts that construction employers work on include Section 106 planning permission requirements to employ local apprentices. Shared apprenticeship schemes can help support employers meet these requirements, recruiting local labour and supporting the regional economy, without the need for a two-year commitment. This in turn supports learners to achieve a full apprenticeship, with the experience they need, working in local projects with a range of employers. 

Building on the Government announcement to expand traineeships, CITB is exploring with industry, government and the Association of Colleges and British Association of Construction Heads how to adapt the traineeship model for construction. This would form part of a new transition route from Further Education into employment or a construction apprenticeship, to support 2,000 FE learners as a pilot scheme in 2021-22. 

Deborah Madden, CITB Head of Apprenticeships, said: “With significantly fewer apprentices being taken on this year due to Covid-19, CITB has launched a range of initiatives including job redeployment assistance, pastoral support, shared apprenticeship schemes, and an employer levy holiday and discount to keep apprenticeships at the heart of construction.

"In partnership with the Construction Leadership Council, these measures are part of our Skills Stability Plan to support industry through the recovery.” 

Apprenticeships are the main source of industry recruitment at entry level – of the 20,300 people in 2018 who entered construction, 11,350 went via an apprenticeship and 8,900 through Further Education.