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Covid-19: CITB chief exec update – 15 July 2020

Good afternoon,

I hope you’re having a good week. These continue to be busy times, and there is much to update you about today including information on the Talent Retention Scheme; additional Apprenticeship Support and Standards; and NCC and HS&E Test Centre re-openings. I hope you find this update informative. 

Construction Talent Retention Scheme: register now

Formally launching later this month, the Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a partnership between industry and Government to secure essential talent in the UK’s construction sector, helping to match workers with roles across the UK to help hold onto as many of our skilled workforce as possible.  

The scheme is run by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which is made up of construction employers, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and trade and business organisations, including CITB.

The online portal supports redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy from across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses. It also gives displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction, while offering businesses a platform to find the skills they need.

The not-for-profit programme now has funding secured until the end of April 2021, providing a free online platform for any business or organisation looking to hire, enabling us as an industry to hold on to as many of our skilled workers as possible.

CITB is working behind the scenes with other stakeholders to launch the website as soon as possible and we will keep you informed of progress on our website and social media channels.

If you currently have vacancies available and are willing to become an early adopter, please register your interest.

ESFA announces new support for employers who hire apprentices in England

There was welcome news for employers affected by Covid-19 this week as the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) announced new measures aimed at supporting employers who hire apprentices. These include;

  • Incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice – a payment of £2,000 will be made to employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021. Please see the qualifying criteria.
  • Increasing the number of reservations for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy – from 3 to 10 per employer, enabling non-levy paying employers to recruit more apprentices for their businesses through the apprenticeship service. This policy will come into effect from 15 July and will continue to be kept under review. 

All new apprenticeship starts on standards from 1 August 2020

The way apprenticeships are delivered in England is changing.  Currently apprentices follow a Framework model, which provides assessments throughout the training, but not at the end to ensure they are able and qualified to do the job.  

From 1 August all new apprenticeships will move to Standards, which give employers greater control over the apprenticeship and provide a more personal approach to training.  Each Standard has an independent end-point assessment to check apprentices have developed the skills needed.

Also, from 1 April 2021 all employers in England will have to arrange their apprenticeships through the Government’s Apprenticeship Service. 

Employers still using the framework model are being encouraged to plan their move to standards and set up an Apprentice Service account now, more information of which can be found on www.apprenticeships.gov.uk.

National Construction College Update 

Having taken a phased approach we are pleased to report that the first face-to-face training courses at National Construction College (NCC) campuses in Birmingham, Bircham Newton and Erith have been completed. Course availability and locations will be increased through July and NCC will start to publicly promote course availability from August. We will follow Scottish government guidance as we plan for training to resume at Inchinnan (Glasgow) in the coming weeks.

More news from the Home Nations

Wales & Scotland: Site Safety Plus (SSP) Courses and HS&E test update 

Following the recent Scottish and Welsh Government updates, we can confirm that SSP courses and HS&E Tests in Wales can recommence from Monday 20 July and in Scotland from Wednesday 22 July.  

Scotland: New task force calls on Scottish construction employers to have their say on future of Modern Apprenticeships 

A new task force has been set up to help minimise the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on construction Modern Apprentices (MA) in Scotland. 

CITB Scotland, along with construction stakeholders and employers, recognised an immediate need to understand the challenges facing the sector. They have set up the Scottish Construction Modern Apprenticeship Task Force to understand what support employers need to prioritise the retention of apprentices, and secure the future of the MA programme in Scotland. 

The group wants to learn from employers what the current challenges are, and their plans to take on apprentices, to directly inform any support needed. Employers are being asked to make their voice heard and take part in the simple, five-minute survey.

A reminder…

CITB’s COVID-19 urgent messages page is refreshed daily and includes updates on the full range of our work.

You can also read the range of support measures made available to UK businesses and employees by the UK Government.

Kind wishes,

Sarah Beale
Chief Executive