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ConstructionSkills changes grant scheme to cut costs

The CITB-ConstructionSkills Board has changed its grants scheme, to reflect its falling grant levy income and more demand for grants.
With the organisation facing lower income from falling levy payments and reduced public sector funding opportunities, the board decided to make the changes to drive up other sources of income and cut overheads. This has resulted in job losses across the organisation, a prioritisation of activities and efficiency measures. The result will be a 10% cut in operating expenditure in 2010 overall.

The grant scheme provides £113m grant funding for businesses that train.

Following consultations, the board has approved the following changes:

▪ Setting the total apprenticeship package at £9,000 over 3 years.

▪ Setting a maximum of £6,000 support for undergraduates in their placement year

▪ Setting a single achievement rate of £275 for vocational qualifications at level 2 and above

▪ Limiting the average number of grant aided training days on a training plan and short duration training at three days - slightly above the current industry average. For example for 100 employees, 300 days maximum grant

▪ Awarding an additional £7.50 per day for BTEC and HNC students

▪ Setting a 10% supplementary payment across all grant rates to simplify the scheme

▪ Plant technical tests to be preserved but rates to be reduced by 25%

The board also agreed that 1% of the grants budget will be allocated to create a development fund to help bosses deliver the Future Skills agenda.

The new scheme will be rolled out in August 2010.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of ConstructionSkills, said: 'It is essential that we maintain investment in the current and future workforce, but with falling levy income and increased demand for grants, the Board has had to review the scheme. The board recognises that in doing this, tough decisions had to be made. The need to minimise the impact on new entrants, in particular apprenticeships, is one area that has caused much debate. However, the board has made every effort to keep apprenticeship grants at the highest rate affordable given competing priorities and the need to plan for the future.

'I can assure all employers that these decisions were not made lightly or without extensive consultation with industry representatives. The new look Grants Scheme will not only safeguard the skills we have now, but will also help construction employers to explore new skills and training needs for the future.'
19 May 2010

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