This year, CITB has paid out over £5m more in grants and supported nearly 700 more employers compared to the same period in 2021.
As we draw closer to the end of 2022, CITB data reveals that almost 12,500 businesses have been supported in the form of grants, with £54.6m paid out to date (Apr – Nov 2022), and more than half paid to small or micro businesses.
The CITB Grants Scheme provides grants for employers in the construction industry that deliver day-to-day training for their workforce. There are several areas whereby businesses can apply for grant, including apprenticeships, short courses, and qualifications. The scheme is just one of the many ways CITB helps employers to ensure their workforce is skilled and competent and ensures the industry has the right skills to grow.
The data also shows early signs of a pattern forming, as apprenticeships continue to be the highest used area of grant so far. Following a boost in grant funding for apprenticeships, £37.4m has been paid out since April, amounting to 68.5% of the total grant spend this year. CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) report, released earlier this year, revealed that approximately 50,000 additional workers will be required every year to meet demand by 2026. This highlights how recruitment and developing a highly skilled workforce will be by far the construction industry’s biggest challenges moving forward.
As a response to employer feedback, CITB has been working on simplifying the grant application process, with the aim of supporting even more businesses through the Grant Scheme in the new year. As part of this, a new one-page PDF form is now available on the CITB website, which is compatible with any device and provides helpful guidance for each field when used with Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free software). The previous Excel-based application form is still available for employers who wish to continue using it or need to apply for multiple grants at once.
One business who has benefitted from the CITB Grants Scheme is Nick Hancox Groundworks Ltd (External link – Opens in a new tab or window). The Swindon based business specialises in bespoke country estate work including underpinning, landscaping, foundations, and drainage, and have used the grant scheme to fund several short qualifications.
Martin Pockett, Contracts Manager, said: “The CITB Grants Scheme has supported our workforce with essential training. All our permanent staff are now trained on dumpers, and we have an extra excavator driver which helps the running of the site. This means that site supervisors can now work off-site more, focusing on the paperwork and marketing side of the company, which is crucial to the success of our business.”
Martin added: “Becoming aware of all the opportunities this support system can bring has meant we have been able to provide our staff with more development and career choices. We now hope to continue growing at a steady pace, with further investment in our people.”
Similarly, the Stamford based bespoke furniture makers, JC+CO (External link – Opens in a new tab or window), have used the CITB Grants Scheme to develop the skills of their team, while also expanding their workforce.
Lucy Willows, Operations Manager, said: “We received short course training grants, allowing three members of our team to attend a fitted furniture renovation course. This has helped us to branch out and we now offer finishing in our workshop. We also currently receive apprenticeship grants from CITB to support our carpentry and joinery apprentice, which has really made a difference to the business.”
Lucy added: “The grant support has allowed us to offer a new arm to the business and the fact that more of the team are now trained means that it alleviates pressure on other team members, making workflow smoother and quicker.
“Applying for grant is simple, and CITB is easily contactable and on hand to provide any support if you are finding it difficult.”
Looking ahead, Lucy says they have big ambitions for the future with the aim of increasing their furniture production, and with their newly acquired skills, offer furniture spraying as a separate business.
Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said: “The impact the Grant Scheme has been able to provide in just the last six months is fantastic! Looking at the comparison to last year’s grant spend shows just how valuable the funding is to employers, and we’re incredibly proud to continue supporting the industry to make sure they are equipped with the right skills and people to meet demand.
“The scheme is in place for all eligible employers who are registered with CITB, and we hope that the new application approach will encourage even more people to come forward and benefit from the funding. If you would like more information about becoming registered and claiming grant, please do get in touch and speak to one of our advisers.”
To find out more about how you can receive support, visit the Grants and Funding page.