New skills crisis package to support construction through Covid-19

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ECITB,
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A raft of new measures to help employers retain skilled young workers and allow training to take place through the Covid-19 crisis has been given the green light by the ECITB’s board

The ECITB has announced up to £6m in funding to help employers, training providers and learners through the Covid-19 crisis.

Key measures announced include:

Train to Retain

To secure skills for the future by encouraging industry to retain apprentices and graduates who are at risk of redundancy due to the pandemic. Grant funding will pay for eligible individuals to undertake further training and development, enabling them to acquire new skills and remain with their current employer.

The scheme will run for at least 12 months and will be targeted at apprentices and graduates who prior to the lockdown were either studying for, or had recently qualified in, a key engineering construction discipline. The ECITB has initially allocated £4.5m to the scheme in 2020 with more funding to follow in 2021. Further details, including eligibility rules and how to apply will be announced later this month.

The ECITB Scholarship

A new £5m scheme designed to maintain a vital pipeline of new entrants into industry. It will support up to 250 learners to pursue a 2-year off the job programme in a craft or technical discipline. Learners will acquire a Level 3 engineering certificate as well as relevant site passports. The scheme has been developed in direct response to the expected fall in apprenticeships this year.

Digital learning and assessment

A priority for further investment and a new digital assessment pilot will be delivered as part of the Connected Competence programme. The ECITB is currently assessing a range of different options for conducting testing and assessment digitally with comparable quality and robustness. This work will seek to identify solutions that are cost-effective and enable remote assessment of workforce competence in the event of future social distancing.

As well as these flagship measures, the ECITB has also set out plans for a ‘Restart Training’ programme to provide refresher training for employees returning to work; cross-sector training to enable more workers to move between industry sectors according to demand; and training focused on new technology and preparing the workers for the energy transition.

Chris Claydon, ECITB chief executive, said: “The ECITB has developed these measures to help industry with both the short term problems it will face once restrictions are lifted and longer-term challenges.

“As we have seen, the disruption to the economy is likely to be prolonged and profound and the crisis has strengthened our resolve to work harder and faster to help the industry retain and develop the skills it needs.

“With an eye on the future, our measures will help retain core skills and bring new entrants into the industry, so when we move out of this extraordinary period we have young people prepared both to embark on and continue their careers in engineering construction.

“Before the crisis hit, we showed the ECITB has the confidence and support of the industry with our levy consensus result. I would like to assure you at this critical time that the whole organisation is focused on delivery when the industry needs us most.”

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