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National and Regional Reports

Effect of employment status on investment in training 2003

Information was gathered from the following groups of people:

Construction sector employers

350 construction sector employers were interviewed. The target number of interviews was structured by size of company and by the relative significance of their LOSC payments to ensure a broad spread of employers. The sample of employers was supplied by the CITB from their levy database.

Interviewing of construction workers

Over 500 interviews were undertaken with individuals working in the construction sector. These were conducted face-to-face at construction sites around GB. In total workers at 35 sites were covered. In terms of the number of interviews achieved per site, this ranged from 38 at one site to 3 at the smallest.

Recruitment agencies / consultants

Ten interviews were conducted with recruitment consultancies specialising in supplying construction workers. The sample of companies was supplied by CITB.

Summary of the report follows:

Use of Labour-only sub-contracting

Almost three in four (73%) employers had used LOSCs over the last 12 months.

Employers use labour-only sub-contracting to undertake a wide range of occupational roles. Most (76%) indicate they use LOSC for skilled trades where they do not employ people in those trades, and very few use labour-only sub-contracting mainly for relatively low skilled, general labourer positions.

Apprentice training

Overall two in five companies (42%) had apprentices or trainees at the time of interview. The likelihood of having any apprentices or trainees does not differ markedly simply by whether a company uses LOSCs or not.

Employer training activity

The majority of employers (58%) had provided training to (non-apprentice) staff over the last 12 months. All the large firms (with 250 plus staff) had done so, as had nearly all (98%) the medium sized firms (with 50-249 staff). Simply whether or not a firm makes use of LOSCs has little effect on whether they undertake any training or not.

However, there is strong evidence that training is less likely to be provided to LOSCs.

Off-the-job training

Most telling, overall a much higher proportion of directly employed staff received any off-the-job training. For example, 17% of those employing manual staff directly indicated that all their directly employed manual staff had received training over the last 12 months compared with 8% who employed LOSCs saying they had provided off-the-job training to all their LOSCs.

On the job training (employers)

Overall, a greater proportion of directly employed staff receive on-the-job training than do LOSCs. For example, 17% of those with directly employed staff said all or nearly all these workers were given on-the-job training. This is twice the level found among employers with LOSCs in terms of the proportion of this type of staff given on-the-job training (9%).

Skill levels among LOSC and directly employed staff

Part of the explanation for less training being provided to LOSCs is that some employers see these staff as more highly skilled. Overall half the employers (49%) agreed that LOSCs are generally more skilled and do not need as much training (38% disagreed).

Site workers

The picture on currently working towards any qualifications confirms this. Overall 17% of workers indicated they were working towards a formal qualification, this much higher among those directly employed (22%) than those in self-employment (10%).

In conclusion, there is strong evidence from both employers and construction workers that less is invested in the training of staff who are employed on an LOSC basis. It is also the case that LOSC workers tend to receive their training and qualifications while directly employed.

The report was prepared for CITB and Department for Education and Skills by IFF Research Ltd

For more information about this report, contact

Download the Report:

The effect of employment status on investment in training 390kb PDF file

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