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‘Improve CITB or scrap it,’ says Lords committee



Wide-ranging report into meeting housing demand calls for action to tackle skills shortage


A cross-party House of Lords committee has criticised the track record of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and suggested it should be improved or replaced.

The House of Lords built environment committee, chaired by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, today published its report into meeting housing demand following a six month inquiry.


The wide-ranging report highlights barriers to house building and makes policy recommendations across a number of areas (see box below) including tackling skills shortages in the construction industry. Chaired by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Lords committee said the government needs to look at alternatives to the CITB.

The report heavily criticises the CITB, saying it “has not addressed construction skills shortages in an effective manner over many years”.

It calls on ministers to look at ways the CITB can “upgrade its training offer for construction professionals” and warned: “Failure to recruit and train the skills required to build new homes should cause the government to consider potential alternative models for a national construction careers body.”

Responding to the findings, Steve Radley, strategy and policy director at CITB, said skill shortages are “long-standing, have many causes and many organisations have a role in addressing them”.

He added: “CITB grants have helped employers train and recruit thousands of workers but there are many more young people full-time in colleges who would jump at the chance to work in the industry if more employers offered apprenticeships.”

He said the CITB’s new business plan will introduce a further package of measures to support apprenticeship and work experience and raise skills.

The report also questioned the effectiveness of the government’s apprenticeship levy, called for greater focus on diversity and said official figures for the construction industry should include those employed in factories related to construction.

The committee also made several recommendations to improve the planning system, suggesting developers pay increased fees to help planning authorities combat an “evolving crisis” of resource shortages.

It suggests measures to encourage SME housebuilders, including a fast-track planning process for smaller builders, easier access to finance and a wider rollout of the ‘master developer’ model.

It also said government funding for demand-side home ownership schemes, such as Help to Buy do “not provide good value for money” and more money should instead be spent on new social housing instead to ease affordability problems for renters and reduce the housing benefit bill. The report also contains key recommendations on later living development and design and quality.

The government is expected to publish its response to the Lords’ report in March.


CITB Strategy and Policy Director Steve Radley said: “Skill shortages in home building are long-standing, have many causes and many organisations have a role in addressing them.


CITB grants have helped employers train and recruit thousands of workers but there are many more young people full-time in colleges who would jump at the chance to work in the industry if more employers offered apprenticeships.


“CITB has made a significant investment of time and money to help address this in recent years. This includes a partnership with the Home Builders Federation to support more effective collaboration between major builders and their supply chains, traineeships that will bring FE students in areas such as bricklaying into work and supporting master classes to improve the skills of existing workers.


“We are also supporting employers that are looking to use new approaches by investing In training to support offsite construction. Our new Business Plan will introduce a further package of measures to support apprenticeship and work experience and raise the skills of existing workers.“

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