‘Hundreds of jobs will go’ as CITB to close Bircham Newton college within two years
The UK building industry’s main training body, the Construction Industry Training Board, is expected to cut hundreds of jobs because of cutbacks, trades unions said last week.
The CITB said it is shutting down its offices and college at at the former RAF base in Bircham Newton, in West Norfolk, by the end of 2019. Large building firms have complained about having to pay two levies – one to the CITB and one to the government to finance apprenticeships.
The CITB employs 600 staff in Norfolk and 1,400 across the country and is funded by a levy on building firms. The closure of the Norfolk facility means it will no longer carry out specialist in-house training. It will oversee training by third party providers.
CITB chief executive Sarah Beale (right) said: “Construction needs to modernise and CITB is no exception.
“I’m confident in our commitment to becoming a more representative, accountable and reliable ‘levy in, skills out’ organisation.”
“We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on people here” but would not comment on the extent of any job losses. The CITB said it would use levy money to “ensure a sustainable training and development market, only intervening to provide a service where it is unavailable on the market, or not to the quality level that is sought.”
Unite national officer Jerry Swain said the plans were a “hammer blow for the construction industry and for the workers at the CITB”.
The union said it doubted “if any private provider could or would provide the same level of training at the same cost”.
Unite said it would now be seeking the views of members to see what action could be taken to “defend the hundreds of job losses”.
Local MP for north-west Norfolk, Sir Henry Bellingham said: “It really does seem completely perverse that at a time when the industry needs more specialist skills and more innovative re-skilling, the CITB are thinking of completely pulling out of Bircham.”
He called the decision “ill-thought-out, very poorly costed” adding “world-class facilities” at Bircham could be lost.
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