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Covid-19: CITB chief exec update – 26 May 2020

Good afternoon,

I hope you had a restful bank holiday weekend. Today I want to highlight how important it is for us to receive and listen to your key feedback; outline some of the actions we have taken in response; and provide a link to our Customer Voice survey for you to complete if there’s something on your mind.

Going through such unprecedented times, it’s crucial that CITB understands the impact these changes have on businesses. With the fullest possible understanding of priorities and learning more about your needs, we can target support more effectively.

Customer Voice reports

During the first six weeks of the outbreak, our Partnerships Team worked hard to reach out to employers, and a total of 6419 telephone discussions were held. This enabled us to gain a better insight into the immediate areas of concern, and hear views direct from employers at the point of entering into this COVID-19 crisis.

We have also been keen to ensure that we do what we can to support the training provider network to provide assistance now via remote learning, and prepare for the future as together we stay safe and keep learning. As of 6 May, we extended our engagement to hear from both employers and training organisations through conversations and a mini survey, to understand how we can best support industry coming out of COVID-19.

Take the Customer Voice survey

By continuing to gather feedback, we are able to make informed decisions as we move through these times. If you would like to complete CITB’s Customer Voice survey and provide your view, please click here for employers, and here for training providers.

Listening to feedback

Your feedback: Early discussions indicated that support for apprentices and keeping staff on site were the most important skills issues during the first five weeks of the outbreak. From 25 March – 5 May, we also received 122 comments in relation to apprenticeships.

Our response: We introduced an apprenticeship support package on 24 March to provide support with funding. This was later extended to Higher Level Apprenticeships.

Your feedback: All three nations suggested cash flow was one of the biggest concerns. Across the first six weeks of contact, we received 64 comments/requests for immediate support in this area.

Our response: Understanding the importance of financial relief at this time, we suspended the issue of levy bills for an initial period of three months. Our Partnerships Team has since been ensuring employers are aware of the support this break in Levy payments provides.

Your feedback: More recently we’ve seen a shift in priorities, as businesses are starting to think about recovery plans. Surveys taken by 77 employers during 7 – 11 May reveal that 40% are still looking at upskilling or developing existing workers.

Our response: We recognised in advance that the financial pressures of COVID-19 would especially impact micro, small and medium sized businesses. We revised funding plans and in particular, refreshed CITB’s Skills and Training Fund, to ensure skill retention can remain a priority for industry during the recovery phase.

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.

I would like to wish you, your colleagues and family a safe and pleasant week ahead. My next update will be on Thursday.

Kind wishes

Sarah Beale
Chief Executive