Plant operatives and assessors are to be trained up as part of a new initiative from CITB to help combat the crippling skills shortage

As part of the new three-year initiative, hundreds of trainee plant operatives and assessors look poised to grasp new skills.

The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA); Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA); Hire Association Europe (HAE); Build UK; Highways England; HS2; West Midlands Combined Authority; Balfour Beatty; BAM Nuttall; Willmott Dixon; Flannery Plant Hire; Lynch Plant; Hire A-Plant; and Plantforce are among industry stakeholders that helped shape CITB’s plant operatives training commission.

Plant career shortage

Training in plant specialisms is currently low, with only 149 N/SVQ Level 2 qualifications in plant specialisms gained in 2016, while a CPA survey showed that more than 80% of respondents didn’t employ any plant apprentices and a further 9 out of 10 employers didn’t expect to take any on in the next 12 months.

39% of employers find it difficult to fill plant vacancies, according to research, and with Brexit expected to limit the supply of new recruits in future, CITB is seeking to support projects that reverse the shortfall.

Construction employers, federations and training providers are all being asked to submit proposals to help address a gap between industry demand and supply.

With plant training necessarily using expensive equipment, projects that make use of innovative methods such as simulators are also sought. Other sectors such as health, aviation and the military have seen learners with simulators spending 40% more time at the controls – instead of standing around watching others practice on real machines.

Steve Radley, CITB policy director, commented: “Employers have been clear that more plant operatives and trainers are needed to tackle the skills shortage. This commission will help support training provision to the sector both now and in the future.”

The deadline for applications is 28 February 2020. Find out more about the plant operators training commission.

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