Tony Bingham’s regular articles often make a lot of sense, but his article on ditching the training levy (8 August, page 43) seemed to have even more sense per column centimetre than usual.
We clearly need to address the huge skills shortage (and give specialist contractors a much-needed financial break) before it’s too late. At the moment many levy-paying contractors seem fearful of reclaiming money via training.
The irony is that at the moment the ConstructionSkills levy doesn’t apply to many of the smallest subcontractors, where a lot of the work is done and training is vital. Also, others may try to dodge their responsibilites by massaging their wage bills to avoid the levy. There is sadly no level playing field for subcontractors at present. That’s why Tony’s suggestion to charge a levy “at source” on the products we use every day makes such sense.
Across the whole construction sector, at client level, even a 1% levy on the overall project cost would give an enormous pot from which everybody could benefit. The result? An adequately funded training scheme for a whole new generation of the workforce.
imagine having a piggy bank containing millions of pounds. Well that’s what we’ve got - it’s called Constructionskills
There has been relatively little training done in construction for many, many years and this has left the whole industry short of skilled workers. But imagine having a piggy bank containing millions of pounds. Well that’s what we’ve got – it’s called ConstructionSkills. All we need to do is get the lid off, give it a shake, and start training for the benefit not only of ourselves, but the wider industry and ultimately UK plc.
Simon Forrester, chief executive, Association of Interior Specialists