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Construction firms to cut training by nearly a fifth this year

Construction businesses in the UK will further reduce their training activity by nearly a fifth in 2011, according to the results of a construction sector study.

The survey found that 18% of construction employers are planning to scale back their training provision in the coming year, with businesses in the West Midlands, the North West and Scotland being worst hit.

The Employer Attitudes and Motivations to Learning and Training survey also found that 26% of construction businesses in the UK reduced their training activity in 2010.

The study – which was published by SSC CITB-ConstructionSkills – asked more than 1500 construction employers how the current economic climate has impacted on their training provision over the last year.

Job-specific training was hardest hit by the employer cut backs, with 16% of all employers reducing their provision.

Health and Safety was also affected, with 8% of employers reducing their training support. Management and supervisory training also suffered with a 2% reduction.

Mark Farrar, CITB-ConstructionSkills’ chief executive, said: “As a cost cutting measure in times of economic hardship, training budgets are sadly often the first to suffer. Although recognition of the importance of staff skills is high, the research shows that training levels could fall further still.

“For these reasons, CITB-ConstructionSkills will be doing all it can to help and support construction employers in continuing to up-skill and train their workforce – ensuring that they have right skills, in the right place and at the right time.”

However, despite the planned reduction in training, the findings also suggest that employers do still recognise that training is crucial to post-recession recovery – with 24% of employers believing that improving staff skills is ever more important in the current economic climate.

The research has also shown that 10% of companies actively increase training support in 2010 – with 41% making the decision in order to increase the skills level of their staff.

Mark Astley

(Pictured: CITB-ConstructionSkills CEO Mark Farrar)

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