Independent report finds the ECITB makes significant contribution to industry, particularly in supporting training, recruiting new entrants and addressing skills shortages.

The first ECITB Impact Report, co-produced with Skyblue Research Ltd, examines evidence of the ECITB’s achievements in 2020 and scrutinises the organisation’s performance to understand the difference it makes to the industry, its workforce and wider stakeholders.

The report considers if the ECITB hits its targets, invests levy money successfully and succeeds in its ambition to support the engineering construction industry.  Evidence used for the assessment includes a survey of employers, training providers and other stakeholders to analyse feedback from different groups of service users, as well as evidence of the effectiveness of the ECITB’s Covid-19 response programmes. The survey conducted by research agency IFF Research found:

  • 76% of employers say that training would not have happened without the ECITB levy and grant system
  • 83% of employers say the ECITB’s products have given their employees new knowledge and skills
  • 85% of employers feel that the ECITB’s main strategic value to the industry is in ensuring
  • smaller companies can access training
  • 73% of employers say that ECITB support helped to address skills gaps and shortages
  • 75% of employers say ECITB support has helped to increase workforce competence
  • 83% of stakeholders value the ECITB’s labour market intelligence

Combining survey responses with analysis of the ECITB’s wider performance, the Impact Report

highlights 5 key aspects of the ECITB’s performance:

  • The ECITB is effective in supporting training and recruitment. The report finds the ECITB is achieving positive outcomes in its core activity around workforce development. Eight out of ten employers say they’re satisfied with the quality, accessibility and affordability of training provided and that ECITB products have given employees new knowledge and skills and increased workforce competence.
  • The ECITB invests in industry to protect against future market failures. The organisation is investing in areas now that will benefit industry in the future; for example, the ECITB Scholarship. Created to address the drop off in apprenticeship starts during the pandemic, it provides a pipeline of new entrants to industry. Another key ECITB focus is on skills for net zero, with research and product development underway to support the engineering construction industry through the energy transition. These interventions help address the tendency to short-termism in industry planning and investment.
  • The ECITB listens and is responsive. In its response to the pandemic, the ECITB has developed thoughtful and rapid interventions that have enabled training to continue and, in the case of Train to Retain, retained skills in industry for the future. The ECITB is a learning organisation committed to grow its evidence-base and level of industry insight. This can be achieved through better collection and evaluation of data to inform continuous improvement. The report identifies objectives, such as helping companies develop more inclusive cultures and greater diversity and to harness new technologies to improve productivity, where greater engagement is required in order to establish the ECITB’s impact on industry trends.
  • The ECITB needs to shout more about its successes. Many areas of the ECITB’s strategic activities are visible and valuable to stakeholders, specifically the organisation’s labour market intelligence, which 83% of stakeholders say they value. Reasons for lower satisfaction levels among training providers,  with 55% satisfied with the support they receive, must be understood and addressed. The report identifies also areas where the evidence of ECITB value is clear but industry awareness is lower. In particular, the organisation’s preparations for net zero, its work with Government shape education and skills policies, are important activities that deserve a higher profile, suggesting the ECITB must improve its engagement with industry around these topics.
  • The pandemic has sharpened the ECITB’s focus on training in critical occupations. Driven by restrictions on workshop-based training, the ECITB has increasingly funded learners to undertake training in critical, in demand areas such as project management, project controls and commercial awareness. This was delivered online and paid for directly by ECITB, showing the organisation’s quick shift to embrace new teaching methods and a funding mechanism adapted with furloughed staff and Covid restrictions in mind.
ECITB Chief Executive Chris Claydon

ECITB Chief Executive Chris Claydon

Chris Claydon, ECITB Chief Executive, said: “The report from Skyblue looks beyond  the ECITB’s activities in the past year and focuses on the outcomes we have achieved for the engineering construction industry. By better understanding our impact, we can deliver better value to engineering construction employers and improve what we do for the benefit of all our stakeholders.

“I’m particularly pleased to see our response to the Covid-19 pandemic stands up to independent assessment by external consultants and we will learn from these successes and address areas for improvement so we can continue to make a difference to employers and learners and support our industry to the full.”

Alan Graver, Managing Director of Skyblue Research Ltd, said: “The evidence we have reviewed suggests that the ECITB has been proactive in supporting the industry. It has provided the conditions for essential training to continue when it might not otherwise have been the case, and continues to think not only about current, but also future drivers of change that impact on the skills and training mix required to help businesses perform at their best. The ECITB’s commitment to embed and further strengthen its evidence collection will help it both ‘prove’ and ‘improve’ its impact over time.”

The ECITB Impact Report 2020 is available to download and read in full below.