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Covid-19: CITB chief exec update – 8 July 2020

Good afternoon,  

Today my key messages focus on news of funding for the CLC’s Talent Retention Scheme (TRS); a scheme to support both employers and workers in the recovery of Covid-19; and an update on Site Operating Procedures.  

Welcome Chancellor’s announcements for construction

The Chancellor’s measures announced today are a good first step in supporting construction to invest in the skills to drive recovery. 

We’re pleased to hear of bonuses of up to £2,000 for employers who recruit new apprentices. The additional £1,000 for employers bringing back and retaining apprentices and workers following a period of furlough is also welcome news for the construction sector at this time. We will continue to help shape how the 30,000 Traineeships announced will help deliver skills the industry needs. 

Investment in the Green Homes Grant scheme is a positive step towards the UK’s net-zero commitment, helping to secure jobs, and offer relief to small businesses in the repair and maintenance sector. However, we will need to work with both industry and government, to ensure industry is equipped with the skills required to meet this.   

Talent Retention Scheme  

Acknowledging the importance of retaining skills and talent within industry, the Government has pledged to invest into the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Talent Retention Scheme (TRS).  

The TRS originally launched back in 2011 to support the manufacturing and engineering sectors, and successfully matched displaced workers with employers in need of their skills. To avoid a potential loss of skills and talent from construction, CLC have worked with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who together with ACE (Association for Consultancy and Engineering) have led the project to date.  CITB are part of the working group ensuring the version being built meets immediate construction industry needs and as the sector develops in the future.   

With funding secured to provide this free service for at least the next eighteen months, this promised commitment to skills and employment recovery will be crucial, as we tackle the challenges presented by Covid-19. Apprentices and workers made redundant or looking for work will be signposted to the portal to seek vacancies and upload details that can then be matched to job opportunities posted by recruiting employers.  

The platform is expected to launch in the next month, and we will be working closely with the CLC as well as industry to ensure employers and displaced workers are able to take advantage of the platform. CITB will also be offering guidance for apprentices to ensure they are able complete their training.  

Updated Site Operating Procedures

In line with the most recent Government advice and CLC updates to the Site Operating Procedures v5, we have again updated our supporting materials, checklists and Toolbox Talk, which can be found here.   

New Welsh Construction Forum  

A new construction forum met in Wales for the first time yesterday, chaired by Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters MS, and attended by Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James MS. The forum discussed the short term 12-point recovery plan compiled by the Wales Construction Federation Alliance with CITB input and working groups will now deliver the agreed actions before the full Forum reconvenes in a months’ time. 

Scotland Construction Modern Apprenticeship Task Group 

In response to Covid-19, the Construction Modern Apprenticeship Task Group was established in Scotland, initially to look at the existing 4th year apprentices, and ensure this cohort was able to complete their full apprenticeship this year.  

It has since expanded its remit to look at how it can support employers with this year’s apprentice intake; how it can assist construction employers and workers in terms of redundancies; and what part construction skills can play in any recovery plan for construction in both the short and long term. Members of the group include; CITB, Scottish Federations, Trade Unions, Scottish Government, SDS, Construction Scotland, and construction employers. 

CITB’s COVID-19 updates page is being refreshed daily and includes information on a range of subjects, including Grants, Funding and the NCC. 

To read the range of support measures made available to UK businesses and employees by the UK Government please click here.

Finally, I would like to wish you, your colleagues and family a pleasant week ahead.  

Kind wishes  

Sarah Beale
Chief Executive