Training body will cut 800 roles in three-year transformation plan
PUBLISHED: 00:12 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 00:12 17 April 2018
© Stephen Shepherd
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) had already revealed proposals to move its head office, where it employs 575 people, from Bircham Newton in north West Norfolk, with Peterborough the most likely destination.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham had been among those to raise concerns about the decision – with the future of hundreds of jobs up in the air.
Today, as it revealed more detail on its 2018-2021 business plan, the CITB said it had been pleased at interest levels from other providers in buying its training centre, which could secure the roles under another banner.
CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said the organisation was currently in consultation with workers, unions and management with details yet to be finalised.
She said: “When we first announced this plan we had assumed the facilities would be very difficult to sell but since making that announcement we have been approached by a number of training providers who have shown a lot of interest. It is much more positive than we thought it would be.”
She added there had been discussions about other uses for parts of the site, including commercial uses linked to the construction industry as well as housing and other business uses.
The document lays out the timeline for the body’s transformation, with plans to put the training services up for sale in June. Proposals to outsource head office functions are already out to tender.
Ms Beale said the outsourcing contract would begin from January next year, meaning the relevant roles would be cut.
Overall the CITB is proposing to go from 1,370 staff across the UK in March 2018 to 558 by 2021.
Ms Beale said: “We are outsourcing the back office functions; finance, HR, marketing and customer services. We are stopping doing some of the work so we don’t need the support services.”
She said consultation would begin with those affected by the autumn.
The CITB, which first announced plans to leave Norfolk in November, has said it will leave Bircham Newton by the end of 2019.
MP’s call for headquarters to remain in Norfolk
North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham has called for the CITB to remain in Bircham Newton in a slimmed down form to help with the transition of training services.
Sir Henry said: “My bottom line is that I want the headquarters to remain in Bircham and an arrangement to better oversee the training contract with a new provider.”
Sir Henry said he was working with the New Anglia LEP to ensure the right training provider was found to take on the services at the Bircham Newton site.
He said: “With the high quality of training provision provided, there is no reason why the jobs on the training side can’t stay at Bircham Newton with a new provider.”
He added: “Hopefully CITB will listen to the local community because these are high quality jobs in a very remote area.”
Sir Henry said he was lobbying ministers from education, business and communities on the issue.