Lynda Armstrong, Chair of the ECITB, said: “The engineering construction industry is at a critical juncture. While profit margins are still tight in many sectors we are seeing signs of recovery. With major new infrastructure projects underway and more scheduled for the future, it is crucial industry has the skilled people it needs.
“Unless we prepare for the future by embracing new technology and recruiting new workers to replace our ageing workforce, the industry on behalf of UK Plc will struggle to deliver these projects safely and efficiently.
“We lowered the levy rates temporarily at the last consultation in 2016, in response to poor industry conditions and the introduction of the Apprenticeship levy. Yet demand for training has remained high and the outlook for industry is showing positive signs. The fall in levy income combined with high demand for training means that we now face a shortfall.
“To support productivity and employer demand for training we will need to restore our levy income back to previous levels. I am confident our proposals will help employers meet their current and future skills needs and look forward to engaging with levy payers over the coming months.”
The ECITB has identified four principal areas industry must address:
- Competition for Skills – employers in the industry face growing competition for skilled employees from other sectors, such as HS2 and Crossrail, and skills shortages resulting from Brexit.
- Industry 4.0 – new data-driven technologies will transform how businesses and their workforces operate, and training must be developed to enable industry to remain competitive.
- Demographic change – by 2026, 14% of the current ECI workforce will have retired meaning industry needs to attract more young and diverse talent.
- Competent workforce – a safe, skilled and productive workforce is essential for the engineering construction industry to deliver projects on time, to budget and according to high safety standards.
The new ECITB strategy 2020 – 2022 is available to download here. The formal consultation with ECITB levy payers on the proposed new rates will take place in the Autumn.