Industry professionals criticise 'short-sighted' decision to axe £250 grants for Chartered Institute of Building courses

A row is brewing between construction professionals and the industry's training body after grants for courses run by the Chartered Institute of Building were axed.

The decision is part of belt-tightening programme introduced by CITB-ConstructionSkills after it paid out £176m last year in grants to 23,000 construction firms.

It has to make up a £13m shortfall in income and has now decided to cut the £250 grants for courses run by the CIOB.

Explaining the decision, Chris Jones, the chair of the Grants Working Party, said: “The record numbers of grant claims for 2008 mean we needed to take a serious look at the grants that we can provide. It is crucial that we continue to provide grants for apprenticeships and for new entrants.”

But CIOB chief executive Chris Blythe said the move was “short-sighted” and added: “What these changes will do is hold back experienced workers and deny them the opportunity to progress their career in construction.

“It is clear from their announcement that CITB has an emphasis on craft and apprenticeship levels and is undervaluing the professional and management occupations despite the amount of levy collected from that section of the workforce.”