CITB invests £1.8m to support England Construction Opportunities and reduce the skills gap


CITB’s England Construction Opportunities (ECO) commission sees eight successful bids awarded a total of just over £1.8m.

This investment will directly help address the construction industry’s skills gap, increase employment retention, and provide vital support to new starters at the beginning of their construction careers.

Each of the eight projects will deliver a combined total of 3,500 employment support plans to assist individuals, with the aim of achieving long-term sustained employment.

Through the ECO funding, the selected suppliers will bring support systems to the following regions:

  • Abbey Access Centre Ltd – Lincoln
  • Barking Riverside Ltd – London
  • Gement Ltd – London and South-East
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Landau Ltd – Shropshire
  • NFRC – England
  • WMCA – West Midlands
  • Women into Construction – England

Over the course of three years, the ECO projects will support individuals to overcome any initial challenges they may face as they begin their career in construction, while also providing ongoing in-work support to improve retention and importantly, progression.

The successful suppliers all have established links with the construction industry, many already working with contractors and employers across a range of sites throughout the UK. Hampshire County Council, Landau Ltd, WMCA and Barking Riverside Ltd are all recognised for previously supporting construction opportunities through the Construction Skills Fund (CSF), a similar model designed and delivered collaboratively through CITB and the Department for Education. The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), Women into Construction, Abbey Access Centre Ltd and Gement Ltd all have expertise in specialist careers advice, training, and employment opportunities within the construction industry.

CITB’s investment in the ECO commission will provide critical support to deliver the skills industry requires to meet demand, with many of the selected suppliers anticipating a high level of activity in the coming years. Landau Ltd is just one of the projects that will be engaging with local employers to cater to the high demand for new build projects in Telford, currently the fourth most active area within the UK for new build homes. Barking Riverside Ltd and the WMCA will also be centring their projects around local activity, with large-scale regeneration planned in both Birmingham, following the Commonwealth Games, and across the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

The eight projects are aligned in their approach, with the belief that regular ‘touch points’ and guidance sessions with sector specialists will be key to retaining more participants in construction roles. Many of the projects aim to implement bespoke support and action plans for learners, with this investment from CITB enabling them to have a greater presence in the individual’s training and development.

Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said: “It’s fantastic to see the ECO commission progress forward with eight successful bids. Their wealth of knowledge and experience, combined with their established partnerships, will be vital in creating the opportunities, supporting new entrants, and critically maximising skills retention in the industry, all of which CITB recognises is and will continue to be crucial for the foreseeable future.  

“With a changing landscape and a demand in England alone for over 220,000 additional workers by 2026, the challenge industry faces should not be underestimated. However, this commission presents a great opportunity to contribute and address some of those key skills challenges, primarily helping towards securing construction’s talent pipeline. I’m really looking forward to watching the projects flourish and wish them all the best of luck as they move into the next phase.”


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BDC 317 : Jun 2024