The ECITB has unveiled a new £90 million skills investment plan to meet the current and future skills needs of the engineering construction industry.

The new 3-year business plan published yesterday (22 Jan) by the Government-sponsored skills body follows the decision by employers in October to back an increase in the industrial training levy necessary to fund a major expansion in training and skills.

Industry’s response to the ECITB’s Leading Industry Learning 2020-2022 strategy and the proposal to raise the levy was overwhelmingly positive. Employers representing almost 90% of the levy paid, voted in favour of the plans, demonstrating the strong commitment the industry has in training and developing its people at what is critical time for the sector.

The new business plan sets out the ECITB’s priorities for the next three years, which centre on addressing the major challenges facing the engineering construction industry. This includes the need to deliver £600bn worth of major infrastructure projects over the next decade, replace an ageing workforce and support the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

The ECITB’s business plan also pledges £70 million in training grants for employers, including:

  • £25m to address critical skills gaps and shortages
  • £15m to train new entrants coming into the industry, including apprentices, workers from other sectors and a new ECITB graduate development programme set to be launched this month.
  • £5m towards assuring competence to maintain a capable, safe and transferable workforce.
  • £25m to train existing staff and new entrants in emerging and future skills, such as advanced digital skills and Industry 4.0 technologies.
  • £0.5m for diversity and inclusion training to help the industry foster more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said:

“Our new three-year strategy was developed in close consultation with employers and sets out to support the industry through what are critical times ahead.“With demand for training outstripping available funding, the ECITB identified the need to increase the levy, a decision that received substantial backing from employers.“With this new mandate, the onus is now on the ECITB to deliver against our plans and that is very much the focus of everyone at the ECITB.

"We are determined to demonstrate how the training levy can provide real value in helping employers tackle current skills challenges, boost productivity and deliver a workforce equipped for the future.”As well as supporting training through direct grants, the ECITB’s business plan includes a major new programme of research into the engineering construction labour market and a review of training standards and qualifications to ensure they are fit for the demands of IR4.

"We are also investing in our levy intelligence and collection processes to ensure all those employers who should pay the levy do.In addition, the ECITB recently completed a restructuring exercise, which came into effect on 1st January 2020, to focus the organisation on delivering the new strategy.  In order to deliver the strategy, the industry voted in favour of an increase in the offsite levy to 0.20% in 2020 rising to 0.33% in 2022, while the site rate will remain unchanged at 1.2%. These changes will come into effect this year, with levies payable in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

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