Employers can now receive expert advice and support from sector specific networks, as part of the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) employer network pilot. As well as the local training networks, selected sectors will also be supported making it even easier to find and fund appropriate construction training.
Hire Association Europe (HAE) is among the first of the sector specific networks to be introduced, supporting plant, tool and equipment hire employers with queries directly related to their field. Through the network’s technical expertise, and with a budget of more than £300,000, they can help ensure employers receive the right training for skills needed now or in the future. The model aims to create a more simplified process and has therefore removed the need to access the grant scheme, with HAE helping to organise and fund the training on behalf of employers.
The CITB pilot launched its local training networks in August 2022 with an initial £800,000 investment. With a focus on connecting employers to established and experienced delivery partners, the aim is to help employers recognise their training priorities and the best routes to achieving them. This transformative way of working provides a huge opportunity for employers to not only voice their training requirements, but also play a fundamental role in deciding how funds are used in their local area.
The 12-month local initiative is available to 3,800 levy-registered construction businesses and offered across five locations in England, Scotland, and Wales. One business already reaping the rewards is Aspect Group Services Ltd. The East Anglian business provides various services across roofing, scaffolding, property refurbishment and development, and was informed about the employer network pilot through the Norfolk Construction Training Group (NCTG).
Katie Laws-Chapman, Aspect Group Services Office Manager, said: “Initially we were hesitant, as we were accustomed to claiming training back from CITB through the usual process. However, through discussions with our contacts at NCTG, we were assured the process would be simple and we would have greater benefits due to the wide scope the employer network covered.
“As we are a mix of site-based operatives and office-based staff, we were able to request support for a wider variety of courses than previously possible. It was very beneficial to be able to combine both sets of training requirements for our staff through the employer network.”
Stacey Felmingham, Office Coordinator for Aspect Group Services, added: “With the support from the NCTG we have been able to navigate the employer network process effectively and efficiently. The simplicity and broad scope of the initiative has allowed us to offer training to more employees than we initially budgeted for over the year, which is fantastic news as a business and for the individual!”
Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said: “I’m thrilled to see the great results this pilot is already achieving in such a short space of time! We’re really excited to join forces with Hire Association Europe and believe their support will have an invaluable impact on the plant, tool and equipment hire sector. The real drive behind this project is ensuring employers get the support they need to train and develop their workforces. By expanding the networks to include niche technical expertise, this should simplify the process and make it even easier for employers to get the most out of their training budgets.”
Paul Gaze, CEO, Hire Association Europe, said: “Hire Association Europe is delighted to be working with CITB on the Sector Employer Network Programme. It is vital that we invest in the plant, tool and equipment workforce to develop the required skills and competencies, as the sector underpins the wider construction industry. Nothing gets built, maintained or repaired without the professional hire and rental workforce. We commend CITB for its investment in developing the skills to drive forward construction.”
There’s still time to get involved if you are based within one of the five pilot areas or work in the plant, tool and equipment hire sector. Find out more and sign up here. Your voice can help shape the future of training provision.
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