CITB pulls out of training college sale plans

The National Construction College at the CITB at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian Burt

The National Construction College at the CITB at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced a U-turn over its plans to sell a training college in north Norfolk. 

CITB had previously sought new owners for its site at Bircham Newton, throwing the future of the college near King's Lynn and its 170 staff into question. 

However CITB has now said it will retain the training site - as well as a second in Glasgow - in order to provide stability to the industry. 

Peter Lauener, chairman of CITB’s board, said: “The Vision 2020 reforms, and other changes made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have successfully realigned our business to make us better able to support employers investing in skills.

"CITB operates colleges which provide vital and valued training where we have not been able to find suitable buyers that could continue to deliver the scope of high quality training the industry needs.

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"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 right course of action to support industry now is to provide stability and assurance.

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"The board has therefore decided to retain NCC East and NCC Scotland. 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.

"We will of course keep these businesses under close review as we do for every aspect of our operation and this might lead in due course to alterations in our approach to NCC but we have no plans at present to return to market.”

CITB is gradually reopening the National Construction Colleges (NCCs) under government guidelines, with apprentices returning from the week beginning March 22.

The news was welcomed by James Wild, MP for north west Norfolk, who 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." 

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