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The ECITB has launched a new strategy to support growth in the engineering construction industry, pledging more than £87m to support workforce training and tackle labour shortages and skills gaps over the next three years.

Published by the employer-led Board of the ECITB, the new strategy sets out a three-year plan, from 2023-25, to help bring talented new entrants with foundation skills into industry as well as support ongoing training and the reskilling of workers moving from other sectors.

Developed following extensive consultation with industry, training providers and UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, the strategy builds on measures enacted by the ECITB to secure skills during the pandemic. The focus now is on supporting growth by helping to address industry recruitment and retention challenges, as employers look to expand the workforce to deliver a growing number of projects earmarked on the horizon.

The priorities identified by the ECITB aim to help industry tackle a looming workforce and skills crisis. The ECITB forecasts 25,000 additional workers are needed for major projects, including those related to net zero, by 2026, placing employers in direct competition for labour from £650bn of infrastructure projects in the wider UK economy. And the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy has upped the stakes further, placing greater pressure on industry and the engineering construction supply chain to expand to meet new energy generating capacity targets.

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “The engineering construction industry and its supply chain companies design, deliver and decommission many of England, Scotland and Wales’s critical infrastructure projects, and therefore is central to the nation’s energy security and energy transition ambitions.

“The ECITB’s new strategy is designed to help address the main workforce challenges facing this critical industry over the next three years. We have prioritised support for new entrants and new pathways to industry in anticipation of the forecast labour shortages and will fund training to bridge skills gaps through support for new training around net zero projects, including digital skills.

“In developing the strategy, the ECITB has listened closely to employers, training providers, government representatives and other key stakeholders. We aim to deliver what industry has said it needs – a focus on attracting and developing new talent and the provision of high-quality training across Britain.

“For the ECITB, our mission to lead industry learning has never been more important than it is now.”

The ECITB, which is funded by a levy on engineering construction industry employers and steered by a Board comprised of senior leaders from industry, will allocate £73m towards training grants over the next strategy period. More than half (52%) will fund ongoing training, upskilling and reskilling, while the remaining 48% will support new entrants to start careers in industry via a variety of different pathways.

The 2023-25 strategy aims to help industry meet the workforce volume challenge and prepare for a boom in project activity for engineering construction employers. These projects span a range of sectors including nuclear new build and decommissioning, renewables, oil and gas, water treatment and food and drink. They will also include hydrogen and carbon capture projects linked to the decarbonisation of the Industrial Clusters, which are at the heart of the country’s net zero plans.


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