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Skills needs, new recruits and the challenges ahead – CITB’s England Plan 2021/22

Helping employers with their immediate skills needs, clear information to attract new recruits including from FE, and tackling long-term challenges underpin @CITB_UK’s England Plan, published today (7 April). 

Across Britain, some £140million of industry Levy will be invested in 2021/22 for employers to train, and in support and services, meaning 94p of every pound of Levy CITB receives will be targeted at industry’s priorities to ensure Levy in means skills out.   

The England Plan was shaped by input from England Council members on the priority outcomes to target in 2021/22. It also aligns with Government and Construction Leadership Council initiatives like the CITB GB Business Plan published last week. Key priorities include:

  • Helping people to gain valuable work experience and providing resources and materials to help with this.  
  • Increasing the level of FE learners progressing by working closely with colleges with a strong construction offer or who are centres of excellence in particular roles  
  • Working with colleges to drive high quality, relevant training and link industry into sponsored programmes  
  • Working with industry to agree needs and providing support and coordination on standards development to ensure industry needs are met and gaps filled   
  • Supporting new and emerging areas of need such as digital skills and sustainability skills (including retrofit work). 
  • Targeting enhanced support on the most in-demand skills required to deliver accelerated homebuilding and infrastructure and wider challenges such as boosting productivity, building safely post-Grenfell and Net Zero carbon emissions.  


The levy will support making construction careers more accessible, from inspiring schools through STEM Ambassadors and skills competitions, to providing information via Go Construct on where to go next, whether training, one of the 3,700 taster experiences in England this year, or where to find a job. 

Nine new onsite training hubs will provide 2,314 work experience places, and 1,889 new entrants ready to work onsite, CITB will also help develop an industry-wide Talent Management system to support early career opportunities in addition to the Construction Talent Retention Scheme.  

Training and development 

CITB reacted to the pandemic by enabling and providing more e-learning, including a new COVID-19 e-course, and will further develop this approach to e-learning this year. 

CITB will phase in a new wider apprenticeship offer to employers, providing direct support where it will most impact on longer term achievements. This will support apprenticeship recruitment and employers to find the right Apprenticeship Standard and to access quality provision. It will build on the progress made in the pandemic, which saw 99% of furloughed apprentices supported in England remain in the industry, and by boosting apprenticeship achievement rates from 64% to 66%.  

The England Plan will also support the development and delivery of a new construction traineeship that will create a bridge between FE and new accelerated apprenticeship that will recognise prior learning. Starting with bricklaying, other occupations will follow, including carpentry, joinery, and painting and decorating. Between now and 2025, this will boost apprenticeship starts in England by 1,600.    

The National Construction Colleges will continue to help employers access training they need, including specialist areas such as scaffolding and plant. Across Britain, CITB will invest £1m in specialist skills which is vital to ensure those skills survive.  

Standards and qualifications 

CITB will support just under 1,300 skills and training fund projects for smaller firms in England and provide employers with a tool to analyse their training needs.  

CITB will work closely with employers, colleges and awarding bodies to review five National Occupational Standards suites to establish whether and how working practices have changed and how their content needs updating.  

Responding to new building safety requirements post-Grenfell, the development of ten Competence Frameworks to define the skills required for priority ‘Installer’ occupations will also be supported. 

Chris Carr, Managing Director of Carr & Carr Builders, Federation of Master Builders Management Board member, and CITB England Council member said: 

“After a year like no other, we can see the recovery ahead with construction set to play a leading role. But with growth comes greater skill needs. Employers, particularly the many small firms that make up construction, want to attract new workers, invest in apprenticeships and grow the skills of their current workforce. This isn’t easy but by drawing on the support set out in the England Nation Plan and working closely with government, we will be better placed to meet these challenges.”    

CITB England Engagement Director Deborah Madden said:  

“Construction is set to be a key sector leading recovery this year, increasing employers’ skill needs. The England Plan, shaped by our England Nation Council, will focus on the key areas to help employers meet them. This includes providing better information on construction opportunities, supporting more effective routes into the industry, boosting apprenticeship completion rates and the number of FE learners joining construction. We will also work closely with employers to address key training needs and to make training more accessible.”   


CITB is an arm’s-length body of the Department for Education and works to research the sector’s skills needs, fund training, and improve standards. It is paid for by a levy on the construction industry itself.  

The England Council is made up of large and small employers from across the country. 

Further statistics from the CITB England Plan 2021/22

  • Apprenticeships starts in England in 2020/21 stand at 70% of the pre-COVID-19 intake
  • CITB will also support an estimated 1,276 Skills and Training Fund projects for employers in England during 2021/22 
  • CITB will continue to review English apprenticeship standards with IfATE and Ofqual, ensuring support for modernisation and sustainability to achieve Net Zero 
  • CITB will support the development of ten competence frameworks to define the skills required for priority ‘Installer’ occupations 

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