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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

CITB rolls out plant training reforms

Changes to plant training standards and grants are being piloted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

The first set of new standards have been developed with the Plant Sector Representative Organisation, an alliance of seven construction industry trade associations. They are designed to help standardise plant training and testing requirements, streamlining the system and making grants more accessible.

The first phase of the changes will see new standards introduced for:

  • 360o tracked excavators above 10 tonnes

  • forward tipping wheeled dumpers

  • rear tipping dumper/dump trucks: articulated chassis (all sizes)

  • ride-on rollers

  • telescopic handler: all sizes excluding 360 o slew

  • industrial forklifts

  • plant and vehicle marshallers

  • slingers and signallers.

Alongside the new standards, the grant rates for plant training and tests are also being changed. Currently, three smaller grants are available for practical test, theory test and short course training, which employers can apply in different ways. Under the new changes a single grant will be available for all CITB registered employers.

A transition period is in place for two months, allowing employers to still receive grant for either the old or new standards while the process is embedded. From September, grants will only be available against the new requirements for the training and testing of the eight categories under review. To ensure grant eligibility, they will have to:

  • meet CITB’s new standards

  • lead to a card carrying the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) logo, and

  • be delivered by an approved training organisation (ATO).

Employers will need to provide their CITB registration number to an ATO, which will apply for the grant on their behalf. Any other plant training that is separate from the new standards will remain eligible for grant and employers can apply for this in the same way as they currently do.

A separate, higher ‘novice’ grant rate will be available for employers who are putting staff through plant training, who have never had experience with the type of machinery on which they are being trained. This is designed to address industry’s urgent need for more plant operators.

The reforms apply to the whole of Great Britain but not Northern Ireland.

Peter Brown, technical & development manager of the Construction Plant-hire Association, is secretary of the PRSO. He said: “Through its competency framework, the PSRO recognises the importance of the introduction of these CITB training standards and their role in ensuring high-quality and consistency of learning, coupled with robust quality assurance processes, that is required for the skills and knowledge for the safe operation of plant.

“The PSRO is pleased to have been given the opportunity to provide CITB with overarching delivery advice and guidance through its technical review group and supports the use of the standards within the construction sector.”

BAM Nuttall academy manager Tim Brownbridge said: “Since early in 2022 I have been involved in a voluntary industry group developing the CITB plant training standards. The various plant and activity categories have been reviewed and developed by specialists with both experience and expertise relevant to the training required. The groups have been representative of all stakeholders in the use of plant from employers to trainers, owners, and operators, and I believe the end result will be of great value to industry providing a current, balanced and robust standard for training.

“I am confident our ongoing investment by industry stakeholders will be well received and the standards will define the required training and assessment requirements for many years to come.”

Christopher Simpson, CITB head of quality and standards, said: “I’m delighted we have introduced these new standards, which will improve plant operations throughout England, Scotland and Wales. These changes will help standardise and improve the quality and consistency of plant training; increase the amount of planttraining that takes place before testing; and increase the number of people trained in plant operations, particularly new entrants to construction.”

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