The submission calls for Approved Training Plans that will help staff throughout construction to learn “soft” skills, such as team-building and communication.
In time, this could lead to a major reorganisation of the CITB grant regime.The MCG is, on the whole, happy with the CITB spending 60% of its £50m annual grant on training new entrants. It is the managerial training that accounts for much of the rest of its expenditure that the MCG says should be broadened.
The submission was undertaken on the initiative of chairmen and chief executives of major contractors, although it was drafted by contractors’ training specialists.
It is understood that the plan is already receiving close attention from the CITB, and that it will be discussed at its next board meeting in September.
Under the MCG proposal, companies would submit a training plan which, once approved, would entitle them to receive funding.
MCG director Jennie Price said: “This would be a good alternative to the current system, in which there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing for everyone. There are currently too many restrictions about the length of courses and too much insistence that courses be construction-related.
There is a paucity of ‘soft’ skills within the industry
“It puts contractors in a difficult position and CITB staff in a difficult position when everyone is trying to decide whether training qualifies for a grant or not,” she said.
Price also pointed out that any training in the Approved Training Plan would have to comply with the principles of Investors In People, the government’s quality assurance system for company training.
However, the main thrust of the MCG submission is that CITB grants must “explicitly support the acquisition of skills necessary to implement the reforms proposed” in the Egan report.
It says the Egan report and the government’s move towards prime contracting “have highlighted the paucity of certain management skills within the industry, particularly ‘soft’ skills such as leadership, team-building and communication … it is essential that the industry’s lead training organisation sends a positive signal by supporting the training which will deliver these key skills.”
The MCG submission suggests different mechanisms for allocating money to companies. One option is to hand over half the cost of an Approved Training Plan up front, with a proportion of the rest to follow, depending on the scheme’s take-up. The more popular a scheme, the less money would be available for distribution.