The chief executive of the UK’s biggest constructor also said his firm is likely to vote against the continuation of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as the industry decides the organisation’s future in the coming weeks.
Leo Quinn, of Balfour Beatty, released a statement about what he feels are the shortcomings of the CITB ahead of their consensus vote, which happens every three years.
Balfour Beatty is the CITB’s biggest levy-payer and Mr Quinn says the industry’s current skills shortage proves the body is not delivering on its remit to create the skills the industry needed.
During the vote construction companies decide on whether to continue to pay a training levy to fund the CITB, which has been in existence for over 50 years.
“To justify its continued existence alongside the wider apprenticeship levy, the CITB levy must deliver what its levy-payers, let alone the UK as a whole, critically need: the newly skilled workers to upgrade our infrastructure,” said Mr Quinn.
Based on the information released by the CITB to date, we have little basis for confidence and strongly believe this is too important to leave to chance.”
The consensus voting process ends on 29 September, and a result is expected in mid-November.
Mr Quinn said that before the company made a final decision they would like more information from the CITB, as the industry needs ‘much more information on what the reformed body will look like and what it will deliver’ and felt ‘the lack of detail in the information it has provided to date is truly concerning’.
“Based on the information released by the CITB to date, we have little basis for confidence and strongly believe this it too important to leave to chance,” he said, pointing out that it received £200m from constructors through its levy.
Stakes too high
He finished by stating: “This is not the first instance of the industry being told CITB will reform itself. This time, we cannot afford to lose another three years if it fails to deliver. The stakes are too high for us to sleepwalk over the skills cliff.”
The CITB’s chief executive Sarah Beale said that she welcomed Mr Quinn’s comments and that she agreed the body needed to stick to its reforms ‘and that the industry needs to be able to hold CITB more strongly to account’.
“We have also made it clear that we will work closely with our industry, with employers of all sizes and across Britain, to agree our objectives and to ensure that we are held to account in delivering them,” she said.
“We are confident that a reformed CITB, with active support and challenge from industry, will be well-placed to meet construction’s challenges ahead.”