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Construction body to stop training services by 2020 if no buyer found

PUBLISHED: 08:28 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:28 21 February 2018

The CITB at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian Burt

The CITB at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has revealed it will end all training activities within three years, with a union raising fears the move could leave a skills "black hole".

It plans to sell training operations where feasible but, where this is not possible, they will be discontinued, the organisation’s boss told staff.

In November the organisation announced a major restructure which included leaving its Bircham Newton facility in Norfolk, casting doubt over more than 500 jobs at the industry-funded statutory body.

Much of the CITB’s training takes place at the west Norfolk site where it is able to accommodate tunnelling, cranes and scaffolding.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “Much of the direct training provided by the CITB is absolutely unique.

“If no one picks this up there is a real danger that the UK will not have the necessary skilled workforce to maintain a buoyant construction industry.

“The CITB is in danger of becoming a self-serving, self-satisfying organisation that fails to deliver for the needs of the industry it is meant to serve.”

Unite said it would be writing to the relevant government ministers and shadow ministers to raise its concerns.

However, Sarah Beale, pictured, chief executive of the CITB, said the organisation was committed to finding the best training provider possible. She said: “We are absolutely committed to finding an excellent training provider to take over our National Construction College sites, including at Bircham Newton, and the signs are positive that this will happen.

“CITB has been clear that any provision must be equal to, or even better in quality than, that we currently offer.

“Alongside leading local and regional partners, we have
formed a taskforce to maximise the potential of the Bircham
site.

“We are still in the early stages of our Vision 2020 programme, and need to consult with colleagues before any decisions are taken.

“However, our clear intention is for training to continue at Bircham under a new owner, while meeting the skills needs
of construction employers in Norfolk and across Great Britain.”

CITB is proposing to move its head office from Bircham Newton to Peterborough.

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