CITB boss urges big firms to step up on skills

Larger contractors must shoulder a bigger share of efforts to solve the construction industry’s skills gap, according to the boss of the sectors training board.

Speaking at a parliamentary reception yesterday, Tim Balcon, chief executive of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said that it was time to end a “one-size-fits-all” approach to sector skills.

Balcon said: “I think we should ask the bigger companies to step up and contribute more and show more leadership in terms of skills development and the contribution that they would make.

“It’s exponentially more expensive to train when you are a small company as well.

“So the work that we do in CITB is trying to find ways to reflect and respond to that so that the difficulty of developing skills is not left to the small supply chain to deal with.”

In his speech, Balcon also laid out the scale of the skills gap, saying that it had remained stubbornly constant for two decades.

He said: “Every year there is about 200,000 people that leave the construction industry, and every year about 200,000 people join the industry.

“There’s generally speaking been a vacancy gap of between about 40,000 and 50,000 vacancies across construction and those numbers have been consistent over the past 20 years.

“So while we have some successes, we still deal with those kinds of parameters.”

Calling for a “paradigm shift in thinking around construction skills”, the CITB boss emphasised the importance of retraining existing staff and increasing productivity.

He said: “If we were to do the things that we’re doing now, but do them better, that will not be good enough.

“We have to think a lot differently. We have to have a complete and utter paradigm shift in the way that we are approaching skills.

“Another thing to bear in mind is that there aren’t enough people now to fill those gaps across the economy.

“So even if we had a perfectly-operating skills system, the people aren’t there.

“The only way to fill those 40,000 to 50,000 vacancies every year is to better train and to increase productivity.”

Balcon added that the CITB was working on making it easier for firms to access support for training, admitting that “sometimes we make it over-bureaucratic”.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top