SUPPORTING Welsh construction businesses while ensuring new recruits are welcomed into the industry are the key goals of the plan from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for 2021/22.
Across Britain, £140m of the industry levy will be invested into construction in 2021/22, as funding for employers to train and in business support and services. This investment of 94p out of every pound of the levy that CITB receives – rising to 95p in four years – will be targeted at industry’s priorities to ensure that ‘levy in’ means ‘skills out’.
The key investments for Wales include grants; training and apprenticeship support to help with immediate needs, supporting new workers and learners; work placements to improve the skills landscape; and addressing new challenges including Brexit, digital skills, Net Zero, and climate change.
Leigh Hughes, director of corporate and social responsibility for Bouygues Construction UK, and CITB Cymru Wales Nation Council Chair, said: ‘This plan shows we’re listening to the industry and investing in what it has told us is most important. We’re targeting levy money at fewer initiatives to ensure industry funds work hard to tackle priority issues, addressing future needs and current challenges.
‘Welsh construction is in a leading position to support Britain’s post-Covid economic recovery, with firms offering more training, making less redundancies, relying less on furlough, and having more orders than most British companies. Our work to support the industry will help employers to attract and retain talent, making it easier for new starters, while helping to develop their skills to ensure they can enjoy a rewarding career in construction.’
Mark Bodger, CITB engagement manager for Wales, added: ‘Welsh industry has bounced back better than expected and is leading the way among the home nations’ recovery. More construction firms remain operational in Wales than elsewhere in Britain, and more Welsh companies are seeing an increase in their work too.
‘We have worked closely with the Wales Nations Council to develop the Wales Nations Plan. Ambitious targets include ensuring all homes have an energy ‘A’ rating by 2050, and lifting 300,000 homes out of fuel poverty by 2030. Our investment to deliver training, while helping to recruit and retain staff, will go a long way to ensuring these goals are realised.’
CITB is supporting construction in Wales to make a career in the sector easier to access. CITB will build on its successful ‘See Your Site’ initiative that provided 280 learners from 13 colleges with taster experiences alongside 10 employers.
By working in partnership with Careers Wales and employers, CITB is developing a competency framework for the industry that will allow new starters to understand how their career can progress.
CITB increased e-learning to ensure the pandemic didn’t hamper development, including a new Covid eCourse. Now CITB is committed to increasing the number of Welsh learners completing their apprenticeship from a recent low of 68%.
CITB’s £3.6m investment in four Welsh training hubs – in North Wales, Swansea, and two in Cardiff – will ensure Welsh learners have the skills they need. The £1.5m scaffolding centre in Swansea has already trained 100 learners in its first three months, with 350 more to pass through its doors in the first year.