CITB reforms may be what industry needs, says construction leader

Saul Humphrey with prime minister Theresa May during her visit to Norwich. Picture: Morgan Sindall.

Saul Humphrey with prime minister Theresa May during her visit to Norwich. Picture: Morgan Sindall. - Credit: Archant

A regional construction leader will push for CITB jobs to stay in the county, but says the proposed changes have been prompted by industry demands.

Saul Humphrey, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's Building Growth board, said he sympathised with the workers affected by the change, and that he hoped the jobs could be kept in Norfolk.

Ensuring the training centre stayed in the county was also important, he added, though possibly under the management of a new provider.

But he acknowledged that the CITB's proposals had been devised to answer concerns raised by the construction industry.

'The industry requested a reformed CITB that was smaller and focused on skills, and this is the CITB's response to that,' he said.

'I think we must now allow the CITB to do what it feels is right and reform in the way requested.'

READ MORE: CITB boss says job loss details could come in new year

Mr Humphrey said the CITB had been in contact and the LEP board would seek to find out more about the plans before offering more detailed views.

He said colleges and smaller providers stood ready to fill the gap in training for trades such as plumbing, bricklaying and carpentry, but that more specialist courses such as crane and heavy plant operation would be harder to replace.

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He added: 'We must not lose track of the fact that the industry does have a skills crisis. There are many more leaving than joining the industry due to the age profile of the workforce, we have EU uncertainty which looks like it could reduce numbers further, and we are trying to double the number of homes we build.

'With these conflicting realities, we need more people in our industry and modern methods of construction like never before. So training facilities and an agile, functional, responsive CITB is a really necessary thing.'

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