James has welcomed the news that CITB will retain the National Construction College at Bircham Newton that lifts the uncertainty over the future of the site
The decision comes after three years of Vision 2020 reforms of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to better meet industry needs. As part of its plans CITB had been looking for potential providers willing to take on the training business at Birtcham Newton. It made a key commitment to ensure that employers would continue to have available training provision that was not readily available in the wider training market.
Despite active discussion with potential buyers of these businesses for the last two years, it has not been possible to find suitable purchasers for all the training businesses at this time, particularly for specialist trades. COVID-19 has now reshaped the long-term economic landscape for everyone and meant that potential new owners were reluctant to proceed to purchase. In light of this and the commitment made that these services would not be lost, the CITB Board has decided to retain NCC East (Bircham Newton).
Commenting on the news James said
"I welcome CITB's decision to retain the National Construction College and provide specialist training at Bircham Newton. I've worked closely with CITB as they have explored other options and taking this action now gives certainty for employees and the construction industry that high quality training will continue to be available in West Norfolk."
Peter Lauener, CITB Board Chair, said: “In 2017 the Government and construction industry were clear that reform of CITB had to be delivered and we committed to delivering that change while making sure that industry did not lose training capacity, especially in specialist areas that it needed, in cases where it was not possible to find a new training provider. The continuing uncertainty is damaging for employers who need to be sure they can get their staff trained as well as for CITB colleagues who have supported their customers and learners throughout the change programme and more recently the pandemic. The right course of action to support industry now is to provide stability and assurance. The Board has therefore decided to retain NCC East. This decision gives employers and CITB colleagues confidence and clarity and enables us to plan for the future, having realised the core ambitions of reform."
CITB confirmed that while it keeps these businesses under review there are no plans at present to return to market. CITB is gradually reopening the National Construction Colleges (NCCs) in England as per Government guidelines, with apprentices being welcomed back from the week beginning 22 March.
CITB is an arm’s-length body of the Department for Education and works to research the sector’s skills needs, fund training, and improve standards. It is paid for by a levy on the construction industry itself.