Shaun Wadsworth revisits the role of the CFA in offering training support, and provides a recap.
ALONGSIDE helping CFA members and the wider industry identify all the different training opportunities and qualifications available within the sector, my role as the CFA training manager also involves ensuring members’ voices are heard when vital change is required to funding, delivery, training standards and qualifications within the UK.
The past 18 months in particular saw a lot of that work take place with some great success stories, but that work continues into 2023 with some essential work still continuing.
CITB flooring classification lobbying
Depending on the mix of flooring activity, some CFA members pay the CITB levy, and claim grant funding for training undertaken, and some do not. Contractors who pay the CITB levy can consequently claim additional grant funding for training, including the most obvious, apprenticeships.
After a CITB scope review a small number of companies were advised they now fall outside of levy scope, leaving some employers to directly fund ongoing and future apprenticeship intakes that had previously been co-funded by CITB. When our members informed us of this, a subcommittee of CFA council members was formed to assess what had happened and resolve the issue for our members. Over several meetings with CITB, the sub-committee identified that the terminology used to describe flooring products on CITB levy paperwork was out of date and the sub-committee therefore made suggestions on terminology used within CITB’s flooring guidance and relevant paperwork.
CITB grant funding lobbying
The CFA has achieved a notable success in lobbying the CITB to reinstate funding for apprenticeships in our sector, after this funding had been under threat following a review. The review by CITB removed the additional grant funding they provide for the textile and resilient flooring pathway of the new Floorlayer Apprenticeship Standard in England. This would have reduced the amount of funding CITB levy registered flooring contractors (and other eligible companies) had available for employing and training apprentices.
It wasn’t clear how far-reaching the implications of the original decision would have been, but at the time it had already been applied in England and it was strongly hinted Scotland was also going to be reviewed.
Floorlayer Apprenticeship Standard review
Led by the CFA and working closely with Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IFATE), in 2022 and continuing in 2023, CFA, its members, training providers and end-point assessment organisations are helping revise the Floorlayer Apprenticeship Standard.
The revision provides the opportunity to look at whether the current content and KSBs (knowledge, skills and behaviours) reflect industry expectations within floorlaying and involves looking at all areas, duties, KSBs, EPA (end-point assessment), with a key focus also on the most vital area – funding.
Additional principles and characteristics such as digital construction, net zero carbon, building safety, mental health and more will be added as part of teaching at apprenticeship level.
National Occupation Standards Review
In conjunction with CITB, CFA contractors and training providers, the CFA is also assisting in the review of the current Floorcovering National Occupational Standards (NOS), which started in August 2022 and continues into 2023. The NOS provide benchmarks for competent performance in training and qualifications. The content is led by demand and based on evidence from industry.
The NOS underpins all training in our sector but most importantly it will lead to vital changes in the S/NVQs for floorlaying that will subsequently lead to much needed change and hopefully additional funding in England and Scotland.
There continues to be fantastic input from employers and providers located across the UK and provides just another example of the positive changes that can be made by our industry working together.
For all the above there’s an abundance of information available to anyone in the CFA Training Guide 2023, your definitive source for the latest information about flooring industry training in the UK.
For more information on CITB levy scope there’s a full breakdown of scope on page 84. CITB funding, apprenticeships across the UK and NVQs all have their own dedicated sections too.
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA and FITA training manager