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1.0 Introduction

1.0 Introduction

The purpose of this Plan is to set the vision and priorities for action over the next five years 2007-2011.

ConstructionSkills received its licence to operate as a Sector Skills Council in September 2003. We are unique in that ConstructionSkills is a partnership between CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the CITB in Northern Ireland. In the last three years the partnership has matured to the point where the Council decided to review the efficiency and effectiveness of its existing governance structure. As a result of the review the Council has agreed to a new governance structure which is described in this Business Plan and will come into effect from January 2007.

As a Sector Skills Council, ConstructionSkills has a remit to be the means by which employers can influence the supply of education and training and business support across the UK in order to:

    • Improve performance and productivity
    • Address skills gaps and shortages
    • Give its workforce greater opportunities for training and development
    • Supported by more responsive education and training provision

In order to fulfil this remit ConstructionSkills requires authoritative sector intelligence as to current and future skills needs based on a good understanding of the business and economic environment within which the industry is operating. A summary of the key points in included in the Business Plan. More detail is available at where the national and regional reports of the Construction Skills Network are to be found.

ConstructionSkills was one of the four pathfinder SSCs asked to develop a Sector Skills Agreement which is the means by which, through collaborative agreements between employers and key external providers and government agencies, it can deliver on its remit. Four themes and thirteen priorities emerged as the result of consultation with the industry. These were seen to be the key areas for action in meeting the skills challenges facing the industry and as such they underpin the Business Plan.

The Sector Skills Agreement is the map for the journey. Its successful delivery is dependent upon the themes and priorities being realised in a well-thought through and highly focussed Business Plan. The way we have gone about this is to work through the Business Units that comprise ConstructionSkills. We have also recognised the need to develop separate but linked plans for each of the three devolved administrations. Collectively, these plans form the substantive part of this Business Plan. A key element of these plans is the recognition of their interdependent nature and the need t work in collaboration with others both internally and externally to achieve what are challenging goals.

The success of the Business Plan should be able to be measured through a set of agreed key performance indicators (KPIs). The final section of the Business Plan is a summary of the KPIs that have been agreed by the ConstructionSkills Council.

At the heart of a SSA is an employer commitment to work collaboratively to raise the skill level of the workforce as their contribution to improved performance and productivity. In return, the sector will expect Government support for the necessary supply-side response. Such support is critical to the success of this business plan built, as it is, on the collaborative partnerships which will deliver and fund the skills development and achievement highlighted in the plan. Overall we have made good progress in our negotiations with the various agencies but we still have work to do to embed the principles in government policy in order to gain greater long term certainty.

In England we are pleased to report that we have secured sufficient funding to support traditional and programme led apprenticeships for 2006/7 Discussions are still ongoing with regard to support from Train to Gain for On Site Assessment and Training. We remain concerned that the lack of appropriate funding for 19+ will adversely impact on our ability to tackle the serious diversity imbalance in the industry. In the medium term we will be taking forward our commitment to 1000 programme led apprenticeships for 2007/8 but unless a proper funding arrangement is agreed this will be the first and only cohort. Longer term there needs to be greater certainty within the funding policy to enable forward planning over a five year time horizon of our Business Plan.

Government in Scotland continues to support the apprenticeship scheme managed by ConstructionSkills with increased funding for the current year. This recognises the record number of entrants coming into the industry and its importance to the economy of Scotland.

Additional funding from Government for our Advisory role has been agreed for 2006/07 and also for 2007/08. This has resulted in an increase in the number of companies investing in training with the result that skills shortages are now relatively uncommon (Futureskills Scotland, The Scottish Labour Market 2006).

It is hoped that this level of support will continue beyond the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2007, allowing the industry through its education and training systems to continue producing labour of high quality, meeting employers’ needs.

In Wales sufficient funding has been secured to deliver the stated outcomes of the SSA for 2006/7. Beyond 2007 the Welsh Assembly Government will be using the existing Forum chaired by David Harris of Cowlin Construction to plan the funding in support of the SSA. This approach may need to be reviewed post elections in May 2007. All indicators to date are very positive and we are looking at ever closer working relationships with our colleagues in the Welsh Assembly Government.

The SSA for the NI construction industry has recently been submitted to the NI Project Board for review. Additional funding will be required to ensure the successful implementation of the objectives outlined within the SSA through the delivery of the Business Plan. ConstructionSkills in NI will bid for this funding from Government and other sources on an on-going basis

Construction Industry Council
CITB Northern Ireland
Skills for Business Network

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