Making the most of the Skills and Training fund

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Earlier this week it was reported that not many contractors are aware of and therefore not applying for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Skills and Training Fund.

The fund was introduced back in 2016 to help small and micro employers and specialist federations with their skills and training needs. The funds, available to levy registered companies, vary in value depending on the number of PAYE employees;

•           £5,000 for up to 49 staff

•           £7,500 for up to 74 staff

•           £10,000 for up to 99 staff

Smaller contractors are missing out on this pot of money that is just sitting there waiting to be put to use. Firms employing less than 100 people can apply for up to £10,000 a year that could be used to pay for training for employees and have a huge impact on how successful a business is.

Training company, Construction Skills People (CSP), has been shouting about the fund and has since seen its clients secure over £250,000 worth of funding to be used towards training. It’s such a good initiative from the CITB, I don’t know why more people aren’t shouting about it – I certainly will be. We need to ensure everyone knows it exists and has the opportunity to benefit from what is essentially free money to help them succeed.

Thankfully, the North East is one of the better regions for applying and being successful in obtaining funding but we still need to keep encouraging more SME’s to apply. Firms such as Esh Construction and McCarrick Construction have already benefited from the fund. McCarrick used the fund to upskill one of their plumbers meaning they can offer more to clients and it saves them money each year. In the first year of the funds being made available 60 North East employers had successful Skills and Training Fund applications, totalling over £277,500 with approximately 700 beneficiaries; 17 micro businesses, 31 SMEs and 4 large employers all benefiting.

Jeremy Wright, CITB Partnerships Manager said: “The CITB Skills and Training Fund is a great opportunity for smaller North East construction employers to access funding to develop a stronger skills base. We would encourage all CITB-registered employers with up to 99 staff to visit our website and submit an application for the fund”. It couldn’t be easier to apply either – what do you have to lose?

I’m always supporting training initiatives, and this is another initiative that gets you one step closer to giving your workforce the training it needs. The good thing about the fund is that it’s not just for young people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for training young people but we need to appreciate the upskilling and reskilling needs of the existing workforce. For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk