Training: the good, the bad and the ugly, part 2

In this second of a two-part series, Richard Catt takes a wider view of what’s happening in training, warts and all

IN recent years, it feels to me the CITB has constantly been under scrutiny. 2016 closed with the announcement that Adrian Belton, the CEO appointed two years ago, was to leave after beginning a much called for, yet controversial in delivery, programme of change.

A full review in 2017 by former chief construction advisor, Paul Morrell, has been announced and so the main issue here is what is the role of CITB likely to be in the future?

Build UK have a clear vision of what CITB should be doing, but as I write this article it is yet to become evident if acting ceo Sarah Beale will lead CITB in that direction.  

Do we need CITB could also be asked? The most straightforward answer I can give is ‘yes’ I believe we do need an industry training board to look after the specific interests of the construction sector.
However, for CITB to continue to fill that role, further reforms are needed.

In my opinion their ability to distribute grants (even though major reforms were undertaken under Adrian Belton) is still far too admin heavy and complex.

Establishing how CITB works in conjunction with the new levy and Trailblazer apprenticeships also needs resolving. But as custodians of elements such as helping to maintain qualifications and standards, I think CITB is invaluable.

Its trade association support has also historically been very strong (at least for CFA) and should in my opinion remain a priority.

CFA’s role – In the short-term, we’ll consult with members to establish their views on CITB and if we should vote in favour of them continuing to collect levy and effectively represent the construction industry.
A matter that will be voted on in 2017 under a process called consensus through a selection of federations such as Build UK and its members. Following that, assuming it’s a ‘yes’ vote, we’ll work to ensure CFA levy paying members continue to receive funding and support for all their training needs.

Colleges and other training providers offering qualifications
It is a slightly scary fact that we have few training providers in England who offer full framework, two-year apprenticeship courses. Three in total and none in the south of England following the closure of the CITB flooring course in Erith. The recession impacted heavily, but in addition, the uncertainty outlined above, particularly around funding, isn’t helping.

CFA’s role – Act as support and an additional voice for existing colleges and commercial providers to ensure apprenticeships can remain commercially viable for them. Help increase provision if possible by seeking new colleges and providers (sympathetically located for young people to better cover the country than is currently the case) thus ensuring we support the needs of industry.

Wider training – particularly for experienced workers
My impression is the quality of training across the country varies considerably. There’s more good than bad and I’m confident the quality of training Fita offers creates a benchmark. We certainly don’t chase the funding or structure what we do in any way other than to reflect the needs of industry.

I believe that’s critical support and is why Mick, our training manager’s main responsibility and daily activity, involves Fita. Fita and the other training providers not only ensure structured training is available, but hopefully serve to support attracting older workers in to flooring and a route via OSAT to a qualification and CSCS cards.

CFA’s role – Continue to support industry through Fita developing new courses and increasing our activity in the qualifications arena. Exciting announcements are planned for Fita in 2017 and we’ll update on those as soon as things are more firmly in place. For current course dates and prices see

All the above creates another important general role for the CFA – that of constantly updating members on developments and what’s on offer.

We do this all the time through our monthly email update, bi-annual newsletter and of course articles such as this from Mick and I. However, the other major way we do this is via the CFA’s training guide.
The most complete and comprehensive guide to everything training wise in our sector. Published annually as a supplement through CFJ and available through the CFA offices and website, it forms one of the backbones of our publications and literature.

I’m told it’s become the training bible for the flooring sector and although members receive a lot more, I think it’s value is clear for members and the wider industry.

Mick is our main contact for members for all things training and is always happy to offer advice. Email him at or phone 07554 015215.

If we do all this well, then hopefully it allows members to do what they do best. Fit floors! And if they want to train someone they can do so as easily as possible and with some funding. To some extent thanks to the efforts of the CFA and those we work with.

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the flooring industry. For an application pack or further information on the benefits of membership, visit our website or email
0115 9411126
Richard Catt is ceo of the CFA