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Union warns Norfolk-based CITB cuts will ‘lead to its death’

PUBLISHED: 12:24 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:58 18 February 2016

File photo dated 15/04/15 of construction workers. New nuclear power stations and rail projects are set to drive growth in the construction industry, with 232,000 new jobs expected to be created in the next five years, according to a report. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 27, 2016. Annual average growth of 2.5% was predicted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), but the industry faces an ongoing skills

File photo dated 15/04/15 of construction workers. New nuclear power stations and rail projects are set to drive growth in the construction industry, with 232,000 new jobs expected to be created in the next five years, according to a report. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 27, 2016. Annual average growth of 2.5% was predicted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), but the industry faces an ongoing skills "crisis." See PA story INDUSTRY Construction. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Unite union has warned plans to cut 450 jobs at the Norfolk-based Construction Industry Training Board will “lead to the death” of the organisation.

The CITB said last week a restructure would see it shed 30pc of its workforce, to become leaner and more efficient for the industry.

Unite fears the cuts would leave the CITB “a hollowed-out commissioning organisation” outsourcing training to “profit-hungry private providers”, exacerbating the skills shortage in a growing industry.

It is not yet known how many jobs will go at the CITB’s Bircham Newton headquarters, where 680 people are employed.

In a letter to the CITB, Unite national officer for construction John Allott said: “The present planned route of travel looks more and more like an organisation which is going to collect and distribute funds. This business model will not be sustainable long term and will only lead to the death of CITB in the longer term.”

He added: “A training board that does not deliver training is like a pub that does not serve beer – in the end, it closes.”

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs last week wrote to government to ask for support.

Steve Radley, director of policy at the CITB, said: “CITB’s business plan is focused on helping more employers to train and making sure the right courses are available. This is designed to boost overall training levels at a time the industry needs it most, and to do this we have made a firm commitment to return more of the levy directly to industry in funding for training.

“But we also need to look at new ways to ensure that the training on offer meets industry needs. This will happen through a combination of CITB’s direct training provision and working in partnership with other providers. The delivery mix may change over time, but CITB has made a firm commitment not to exit from any of our own provision until it is convinced other providers can deliver to at least the same quality.

He added: “The savings we are making across the organisation are designed to spend less on systems and processes, and more on supporting employers and training provision.”

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