CITB funds training “for only 9% of SME contractors”

A damning independent survey claims the CITB has “little or no impact on its primary mission of encouraging the provision of training” among smaller construction companies.

Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Hudson Contract showed only 9% of SMEs said they receive CITB funding for training employees.

And of that 9%, only half receive the full cost of training.

Hudson said SMEs pay twice as much levy as larger firms yet have less power to influence the CITB.

The survey also found that 60% of levy payers provide training without CITB grant funding.

Ian Anfield, Managing Director of Hudson Contract said: “Despite spending millions on websites, roadshows and PR, the CITB’s influence on training provision is negligible.

“In reality, the CITB is a hapless bystander while SMEs get on with the day job.

“More and more stakeholders are questioning whether there is a need for a levy and grant system at all. This needs an answer.”

Further results from the research show that:

  • More than half of the firms interviewed have either no knowledge or no opinion of the CITB levy’s effectiveness in ensuring training and skills development.
  • 71% say the possibility of a CITB grant to cover training does not influence decisions to send workers on a training course; and a mere 2% say a CITB grant is the main reason for training.
  • 38% of firms would continue training even without the possibility of a levy grant.

Anfield said analysis of the CITB’s own accounts show that large businesses receive a 92% return on their levy payment, whereas small and micro sized businesses receive 61% and 52% respectively.

Of those who say that they find it difficult to claim back grants, 55% say that the reason for this is that they do not have an administrator to support them, while 50% say the process is too complicated.

Anfield added: “Training is absolutely vital if the construction industry is to thrive and deliver our country’s much needed infrastructure and house building programmes.

“As the backbone of the industry, SMEs play a crucial role in this.

“Yet not only is the CITB offering scant support to SMEs, it is actually putting obstacles in their way by collecting a levy and passing most of it on to major contractors.

“Those with the narrowest shoulders bear the toughest burden. That is bad for business and bad for the industry.”

Tony Willson, Managing Director of training adviser Helmsman Services, said: “Any company that moans about not getting Grant only has itself to blame.

“It is not that large companies are getting proportionately more Grant than smaller ones, it is that they do a lot of training and have processes to ensure that claims are maximised.

“Although the Grant Scheme is complex, if a company wishes to ensure that it is receiving the maximum Grant for the training that it does, there are many ways of obtaining assistance to achieve this from CITB itself, Training Groups or companies such as ours.

“But in many cases, the companies can’t be bothered.”

YouGov independently questioned more than 500 construction companies during the research.

CITB in crisis?

Please also read the New Construction Advisor post as well.

The CITB and the construction industry have been given a final chance to prove why the industry levy – and the organisation – must be retained.

The government has commissioned Paul Morrell to carry out a review of the organisation.

Mr Morrell is an excellent choice for the role, and though I do feel the industry spends too much time reviewing and reporting and not enough time actually being heard, this particular research is needed andcould ensure long-lasting change in the industry.

On the back of the Farmer Review, and with a new levy order due in 2018, the CITB’s status must now be determined once and for all.

The skills debate is too important and the clamour for change is now reaching a crescendo.

If the CITB is the right organisation to work with industry on rectifying its skills issues, great. If not, let’s figure out what works better.

The CITB is an organisation that divides opinion. It is doing much to reform internally, and certainly publicising that fact, but doesn’t appear to be winning hearts and minds on the ground.

When we publish the CITB’s view of how it can improve and contribute in a more productive manner to the skills debate, I inevitably get emails criticising our decision to publish them.

Shortly after publishing a piece on the government’s decision to task Paul Morrell with a review of the organisation, this arrived in my inbox: “It would be interesting to know what real reform the CITB can think of; they are currently presenting ideas for tweaking around the edges at employer forums, which are not well received or even understood by audiences – but CITB being CITB they put out PR pieces such as ‘choose change’ but seem to be plodding on regardless.”

The positive in this review is that Paul Morrell not only has the respect of Whitehall mandarins, but has led his own review leading to significant change before: the Innovation and Growth Team’s 2010 Low Carbon Construction report, not to mention the first government construction strategy.

His recommendation that the government mandate BIM led to a step-change in the way the public sector procured projects.

The motive at the time (given that BIM wasn’t ‘new’) was that it should help to drive down costs and improve collaboration, something Mr Morrell may feel has been lost slightly in the ensuing BIMwash.

But the report got the ear of government and led to an acknowledgement they could demand more of the industry. Businesses then started to change their attitudes pretty quickly (I say ‘start’, as the process is by no means complete).

The Farmer Review has led to criticism in parts, particularly from developers. But today the skills minister referenced it when he announced Mr Morrell’s appointment.

This could be a watershed moment for the 54-year-old CITB and, in turn, the future of the construction industry.

New Construction Advisor

The former construction advisor for the UK Government, Paul Morrell, has been selected to help undertaken a review of the industry’s training boards.

The recent publication of Mark Farmer’s ‘Modernise or Die’ study called into question the effectiveness and future role of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

In his review, Mr Farmer stated the CITB was in need of wholesale reform along with its levy system, including a new mandate to properly fund and drive forward both appropriate skills development and innovation to suit a ‘modern progressive industry.’

With the new apprenticeship levy being introduced in April 2017, the new charge will impact larger construction companies currently in scope of the levies operated by the CITB and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Boards (ECITB). The report also asked whether market failures in construction still require a separate levy and grant system and if so, how this can operate alongside the apprenticeship levy

In addition, the ability of the UK construction sector to maintain and expand capacity was also questioned.

As an English chartered quantity surveyor and the former senior partner of Davis Langdon, Mr Morrell will use his expertise to help map out the future of industrial training boards.

Previously, from November 2009 to November 2012 he acted as the UK government’s first Chief Construction Adviser and helped produce the ‘Low Carbon Construction’ report in 2011.

Robert Halfon, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, said: “I am delighted Paul has agreed to lend his experience and advice to this important review. Paul is a highly respected figure both in the industry and in government and is known as a strong force for change and modernisation.

“The government’s ambitious infrastructure and housing plans require a step up in capability and capacity in the construction sector. Training boards can help deliver the skills we desperately need and I look forward to seeing some real recommendations from this review.”

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB, said: “The Farmer report and this review raise a number of important questions about how to transform the performance and productivity of construction, and how CITB needs to reform to support this. It’s excellent news that Paul Morrell has been appointed to advise, as he knows the industry inside and out.

“We are working closely with government to ensure the review produces the right outcomes for industry, so that together we can help our sector modernise and grow.”

Latest news from the HSE



Welcome to the latest edition of Construction infonet

Construction Infonet is a free eBulletin from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide a regular update on health and safety issues for all in the construction industry.




In a street near you

HSE construction inspectors are carrying out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This year the Initiative began on 3 October 2016 and will end early November 2016.

Inspectors will be out and about ensuring high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

These include

Where serious breaches of legislation are found then immediate enforcement action will be taken, but Inspectors will also be taking steps to secure a positive change in behaviour to ensure on-going compliance.

Health and safety breaches with clients and designers will also be followed up to reinforce their duties under CDM 2015 and to ensure that all dutyholders with on site health and safety responsibilities understand and fulfil these.

Take a look at the SaferSites Facebook page to see examples of what inspectors find on site – better still, like and share it with your colleagues!


Research has shown that just cutting two valley roof tiles in-situ in each daily shift (about fifteen minutes of work in eight hours) resulted in the operator being exposed to levels above the occupational exposure limit for respiratory crystalline silica (RCS). Colleagues working close by were also placed at risk.  The research findings led to a change in working practices in the construction sector.

Read the case study to find out what this means for you


To receive other updates like this, please subscribe to HSL’s eBulletin on Exposure Assessment and Control.


A round up of some recent HSE prosecutions and enforcement action in the construction sector and links to relevant advice.

Employer jailed for killing teen who fell from a ladder

The tragic consequences of cutting corners on cost when working at height – In this case a seventeen year old who fell to his death when working from a ladder.

 Read the full police press release


Fragile roofs

05/10/16: Worker suffers severe injuries in roof fall

Further information

Free leaflet – Fragile roofs

Busy Builder leaflet –Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a busy builder, contractor or maintenance worker

Busy Builder leaflet – Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a building owner, user or managing agent 

 Working at height

06/10/16: Building contractor prosecuted following worker’s fall

07/10/16: Council fined after employee was injured from fall 

Further information

Busy Builder leaflet – Construction Phase Plan

Construction Safety Topic – Assessing all work at height

Construction Safety Topic – Working at height

Construction Safety Topic – Using ladders safely

 Lifting operations

05/10/16: Worker injured after being struck by concrete skip

13/10/16: Building contractor in court after worker killed by falling load

Further information

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

Construction Safety Topic – Lifting operations


20/10/16: Council and contractors fined more than £1.5 million after man dies and another seriously injured in roadworks 

Further information

Construction Information Sheet (CIS 53) – Reducing risk in temporary traffic management operations

 Carbon monoxide

21/10/16: Testing Services firm fined over worker’s CO death 

Further information

Construction Health Topic – Carbon monoxide

Struck by

07/10/16: Construction company fined after worker losses both legs

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – Dumpers


03/10/16: Bolton night club owner fined over asbestos exposure 

Further information

Asbestos survey

 Overhead power lines

24/10/16: Farming and drilling contractors fined after mast strikes power line

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – Overhead power lines


24/10/16: Worker seriously injured in mobile platform fall

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – MEWPS



Comment on our proposed changes to risk assessment guidance 

Take our survey about our ‘Regulation and enforcement’ web pages – share your views



APS Statement – CDM2015: One year on


WWT events

Improve the health and safety of your business by attending a health and safety event near you. Most of the Working Well Together (WWT) events we list are FREE and all provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people, see interesting new equipment and get confidential advice.

9 November 2016 – Guilty or Not Guilty – The verdict is your decision, Kidderminster

15 November 2016 – Work at height/Scaffolding SHAD, Cardiff

18 November 2016 – Service Strike Mock Trial – Guilty or Not Guilty? What’s your verdict? , Leeds 

24 November 2016 – Construction Occupational Health Awareness Event, Nottingham 

24 November 2016 – Back to Basics – Prevention and Innovation, Tamworth 

Find your nearest WWT Group and get involved.


Other events

Visit the HSE website to find more many national events, conferences and HSL training.


  View past eBulletins –

HSE target refurbishment and repair works


Coming to a street near you

HSE construction inspectors will be carrying out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This year the Initiative is being undertaken as a series of two week inspections across the country, beginning 3 October 2016 ending 4 November 2016.

During this period inspectors will ensure high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

These include


Where serious breaches of legislation are found then immediate enforcement action will be taken, but inspectors will also be taking steps to secure a positive change in behaviour to ensure on-going compliance.

Health and safety breaches with clients and designers will also be followed up to reinforce their duties under CDM 2015 and to ensure that all dutyholders with on site health and safety responsibilities understand and fulfil these.

Follow the SaferSites Facebook page to see what inspectors find on site and keep updated throughout the initiative.

Levy will slash apprenticeship funds warns CITB

Levy will slash apprenticeship funds, warns CITB    

Government’s new levy could hit funding for apprentices by up to 30%

The government’s new apprenticeship levy could cut funding for construction apprenticeships by up to 30%, the CITB has warned.

The training body said the levy’s proposed funding bands would see funding for construction apprenticeships cut by 20-30%, and could put training providers off offering construction training.

Contractors could also be dissuaded from taking on apprentices if they have to make up any gap in funding, the CITB warned in a statement.

As part of the levy plans, new standards will be introduced for apprenticeship types with funding capped across sectors.

But while standards for some sectors have been approved by employer-led groups, no construction standards have been approved – a process the CITB said could take up to 18 months, meaning providers will have to use the existing framework, which is due to have its funding cut in April next year.

Firms will have to begin paying the levy from 6 April next year and will be able to start claiming funding from the following month.

In a statement, the CITB’s head of apprenticeships, Steve Hearty, warned the proposed funding bands “raise real concerns for the construction industry.”

He said: “We support the new, employer-designed standards, because we think they will improve the quality of apprenticeships, and it is encouraging to note that Government state these will be funded at a higher rate than those recently published.

“However, no standards for construction have yet been approved and we are still working under the existing frameworks system and may well continue beyond 2017.

“Even with the sector beneficial STEM increases to funding the Government’s proposed funding bands will cut funding for construction apprenticeships by between 20% and 30%.

“We are concerned that training providers could stop training or they could ask employers to make up the shortfall in cost, which might deter firms from taking apprentices on.

“We have shared our concerns with [the Department for Education] and will be doing formally through the formal consultation process that closes on 5 September. Employers can do the same.”

Apprenticeship Levy update

What does the apprenticeship levy mean for you?

Here’s what you need to know about the government’s new apprenticeship levy, the details of which have been revealed today.


All apprenticeship starting before 1 May 2017 will be funded through existing rules.

The new system has 15 funding bands. Each type of apprenticeship will be placed in a specific band, the caps for which range between £1,500 and £27,000 depending on the apprenticeship type.

The government will simplify the funding system for apprenticeship frameworks, which will no longer allocate funding based on the age or location of the apprentice.

Employers who will not pay the levy, or do not have sufficient funds to cover monthly training costs, will be required to co-invest 10 per cent of the cost, while the government will pay the remaining 90 per cent.

How co-investing will work

Employer chooses apprenticeship in band 9 with a maximum price of £9,000 Employer negotiates a price of £8,500 with their provider Government co-invests 90 per cent = £7,650 Employer co-invests remaining 10 per cent = £850 Employer and provider agree to spread this over 10 instalments of £85

Small employers (those with 50 staff or less) will not be required to contribute towards the cost of training apprentices, with the government covering the cost for care leavers or those in Local Authority Education, Health and Care plan aged 19-24.

Employers with apprentices aged 16-18, as well as those detailed below who have been in care, will receive an additional £1,000 and a further £1,000 to cover any additional training costs.

Employers should be able to use their funds in a digital account and benefit from government co-investment support to pay for training apprentices whose main place of work is in England.

Training providers will receive up to £150 a month from the government to support apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities.

They will also receive £471 from the government for English and maths qualifications gained by apprentices.

Employers will need to show that individuals will gain “substantive new skills” in order to secure government co-investment in training.

Contractors will be able to transfer up to 10 per cent of their annual funds to subcontractors or other employers from 2018.

Apprenticeship pathway  Level  Provisional max funding band value
Accessing and Rigging 2 £6,000
Applied Waterproof Membranes 2 £6,000
Building Control 3 £9,000
Built Environment and Design 3 £6,000
Chartered Surveyor 6 £27,000
Civil Engineering for Technicians 3 £9,000
Cladding Occupations 2 £6,000
Construction and Building Services Management and Supervision (Sustainability) 4 £12,000
Construction Contracting Operations 3 £9,000
Construction Operations 2 £4,000
Construction Site Management 6 £12,000
Construction Site Supervision 4 £12,000
Decorative Finishing 3 £9,000
Decorative Finishing and Industrial Painting 2 £6,000
Fitted Interiors 2 £5,000
Floorcovering 2 £5,000
Formwork Occupations 2 £6,000
Foundation Degree in Architecture 5 £12,000
Foundation Degree in Built Environment 5 £12,000
Foundation Degree in Civil Engineering 5 £12,000
Foundation Degree Professional Practice in Construction Operations Management 5 £12,000
Geomatics Data Analysis 3 £9,000
Heritage Skills 3 £6,000
Highways Maintenance 2 £5,000
Insulation and Building Treatments 2 £3,500
Interior Systems 2 £5,000
Maintenance Operations 2 £5,000
Management Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management 6 £12,000
Mastic Asphalting 3 £9,000
Mastic Asphalting 2 £6,000
Occupational Work Supervision 3 £5,000
Plant Maintenance 3 £12,000
Plant Maintenance 2 £9,000
Plant Operations 2 £4,000
Plastering 3 £6,000
Plastering 2 £6,000
Property Maintenance Operative 2 £9,000
Roadbuilding 2 £4,000
Roofing Occupations 3 £12,000
Roofing Occupations 2 £6,000
Science Industry Maintenance Technician 3 £27,000
Specialist Concrete Occupations 2 £5,000
Steelfixing 2 £4,000
Steelfixing Occupations Major Projects 2 £9,000
Stonemasonry 3 £9,000
Stonemasonry 2 £6,000
Surveying 3 £6,000
Surveying Technician 3 £9,000
Sustainability 5 £12,000
Thermal Insulation 3 £6,000
Thermal Insulation 2 £4,000
Town Planning Technical Support 3 £9,000
Transport Planning Technician 3 £12,000
Trowel Occupations 3 £6,000
Trowel Occupations 2 £5,000
Tunnelling Operations 2 £5,000
Wall and Floor Tiling 3 £9,000
Wall and Floor Tiling 2 £5,000
Wood Occupations 3 £9,000
Wood Occupations 2 £6,000
Woodmachining 2 £6,000


“Rants” worth reading!

Construction SMEs Still Face Late Payment Challenges – NFB

Construction SMEs are still facing challenges in avoiding late payment and accessing public procurement, according to the National Federation of Builders (NFB). Despite making up 18% of all businesses in the UK private sector, NFB Chief Executive Richard Beresford said construction SMEs are still owed over £30 billion in unpaid invoices.

In a manifesto commitment, the Government has pledged to spend £1 in every £3 on SMEs by 2020. With the appointment of Emma Jones MBE as Small Business Crown Representative, the organisation said it was looking forward to continue the good working relationship which it enjoyed with her predecessor, Sir Stephen Allott. Mr Beresford said: “We look forward to working together with Emma Jones on solutions to current issues concerning greater SME engagement and payment performance in public procurement.”

UK’s Skills Shortage Is A ‘Catastrophe Waiting To Happen’ – DTL

The UK’s skills shortage is a “catastrophe waiting to happen”, according to Develop Training Limited (DTL). The training specialist has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to introduce initiatives to attract workers into the utilities sector. Chris Wood, Chief Executive Officer of DTL, said the crisis “threatens to turn out Britain’s lights”.

“A solution to the twin problems of a chronic skills shortage in our utilities industry and high youth unemployment is obvious – train young people to take the places of the ageing workforce, but it just isn’t happening at anything like the rate that it needs to be,” he said. “The new PM and her Cabinet must make it a government priority to look into ways to correct this issue as a matter of extreme urgency. “We all need confidence that our lights will stay on, our heating will continue to keep our houses warm and our taps keep providing running water, but the day is fast approaching when there will simply not be enough workers to do these vital jobs.”

UK Infrastructure Projects

Balfour Beatty has warned the UK Government that major infrastructure projects are under threat following the country’s decision to leave the European Union. In its ‘Infrastructure 2050’ report, the contractor said prolonged periods of uncertainty will impact infrastructure investment “in the medium to long term”. With a skills shortage currently affecting the industry, uncertainty around the free movement of labour “could cause the industry recruitment and staffing difficulties and may increase costs where demand for labour outstrips supply, with the subsequent risk of project delays.” The contractor added: “This will be particularly relevant for mega projects such as HS2 and the nuclear new build programme. In our view, this requires an early and integrated policy response to both retain the skills of those who have migrated here and to ensure that the UK remains an attractive place for talented people to move to. The country must maintain its skills base.”

While private investment may also be slow as the UK negotiates its exit from the EU, Balfour Beatty said the current climate is ideal for the UK government to borrow money in order to finance infrastructure projects. “Infrastructure investment delivers significant benefits, not only in terms of direct employment relating to the build and long term maintenance of a scheme and the spend that goes via the supply chains; there is also a well-documented multiplier effect,” it said. “Economists estimate that every £1 spent on construction generates £2.84 in total economic activity at least 90% of which stays in the UK. “This could be an opportunity for the much talked about diversification of the economy away from financial services and back towards industries such as engineering, construction and manufacturing, as the UK may no longer be bound by single market rules which restrict a more active industrial policy. This, in turn, would support the rebalancing of the economy more evenly across the regions .”
What do you think?

£7 Billion SCAPE framework

Procurement body Scape is boosting the value of its national construction framework to £7bn from an original £5.5bn.

The price hike makes it the country’s most valuable framework. The increase comes as Scape published an OJEU notice for the mega-deal.

Scape said: “The subsequent uplift of £1.5 billion follows feedback from Scape’s ongoing market consultation sessions and is reflective of the growing demand for programme certainty and efficient project delivery across the public sector to deliver across the United Kingdom.” The five lots, with their revised lot values, are

: The new framework will be awarded to multiple lead contractors after the existing deal was dominated by Willmott Dixon.

Bidders will be able to win up to two of the three regional lots or one of the two UK-wide lots, enabling access to multiple providers on the framework.

A single managing contractor will lead each lot supported by an extensive local supply chain.

Mark Robinson, Chief Executive of Scape Group, said: “Since we announced the framework we have engaged in detailed market and client consultation which made it clear that increased values for the options within the framework are essential in helping public sector bodies meet their growing demand for high quality and cost-effective buildings.

“We have listened and we have adjusted the upper value of this framework to take into account the anticipated demand for construction projects over its life.

“This view has not been impacted by recent political events, it is very much business as usual in providing our clients with scalable levels of efficiency and capacity.”

It is expected that successful bidders will be announced in February 2017 and it will fully replace the existing National Major Works framework by May 2017.

HSE fines construction companies £8M

Construction companies have been fined £8m for safety offences since sentencing guidelines were changed earlier this year.

New guidance was introduced in February instructing courts to consider the size of a company when it comes to imposing safety fines.

Penalties have soared since then including a £2.6m fine for Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions after a worker was killed in a trench collapse.

Insurance and risk specialist BLM has been tracking fines since the changes.

BLM found that out of 101 health and safety fines issued since February, 38% affected those in the construction sector.

The three highest fines alone totalled £5.6m while directors of two construction companies were also given custodial sentences.

Helen Devery, partner and head of SHE practice at BLM said: “These new guidelines have introduced fines that are proportional to the size of the company, meaning that both small and large businesses will feel the same impact.

“It is expected that fines will remain high for larger firms that are charged with serious offences so businesses need to work harder than ever to avoid incidents and the subsequent negative impact on their people, productivity and profits.”