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More than 110 people from 70 different organisations attended the annual Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) National Forum yesterday.

At the event senior leaders from the industry-led skills body shared the ECITB’s plans for this year and performance highlights from 2023 with employers, training providers and other stakeholders.

ECITB Chief Executive Andrew Hockey opened the online forum by reflecting on his first nine months in the role since joining in June 2023 and shared how the ECITB has performed against each of the three pillars within the ECITB’s Leading Industry Learning Strategy 2023-25.

He said: “I’ve spent my first few months visiting the regions and nations, meeting employers, providers and learners, facilitating events and working with our Board.

“I’ve seen some great initiatives during this time. Celebrating 30 years of the CCNSG Safety Passport, excellent take-up of our Connected Competence Charter and Work Ready programmes across the country to place learners into employment.

“A collaborative approach is crucial for the delivery of our strategy and we need to work with all stakeholders, including employers, approved training providers and local and national government.”

Highlights of 2023

Chief Operating Officer Andy Brown gave a detailed rundown on the highlights of 2023 linked to the strategy’s three pillars. Highlights include:

New labour market intelligence

Deputy Director of Strategy and Policy Jenny Young shared data from the ECITB’s Labour Forecasting Tool (LFT), which was launched in November 2023.

The tool provides insights into workforce numbers across regions and sectors up to 2035, predicting trends and potential future demand for workers. Among its initial findings, the LFT highlighted an extra 40,000 skilled workers could be needed in the industry by 2028.

Jenny then launched the ECITB’s new career motivations study Inspiring Directions.

In 2023, the ECITB undertook research into the career motivations of workers employed in the engineering construction industry (ECI), learners working towards qualifications relevant to the industry, and the general population.

Among its findings, the report shows the industry is struggling to appeal to new entrants from the general population, and in particular young people and women.

Jenny said: “It’s very difficult to isolate engineering construction data in national datasets, so having the LFT available to us that we can keep maintained will enable us to answer questions specifically about the industry.

“The Inspiring Directions report provides evidence rather than anecdotes as to what underpins career motivations, which will help us understand how we can best work on the attraction of new entrants into the industry.

“Insights from the study and the LFT will help influence our actions and inform industry recruitment and retention activity.”

Feedback on ECITB performance

The Forum finished with ECITB Director of Strategy and Policy David Nash detailing a summary of the results from the 2023 Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS), which was independently conducted by IFF Research in September and October last year.

This is the third time feedback has been gathered in this way from employers, training providers and other stakeholders.

David said: “The Customer Satisfaction Survey helps us gather vital intelligence on our performance and areas for improvement and supplements the feedback we get from our teams on the ground.

“Across our seven key performance indicators, we achieved or exceeded five of them.

“What was pleasing was seeing the strong support for our work preparing the workforce for net zero, with 76% of stakeholders supportive of what we are doing.

“Equally positive is the increase in the number of employers who are satisfied with the overall quality, accessibility and affordability of training and assessment at 90%.

“89% of employers were supportive of our work on training and the recruitment of new entrants into the industry, while 88% agree that we ensure small companies can access training that would otherwise struggle to do so.

“As a team we have identified areas for us to improve. One of these is doing more to communicate what we’re doing to support employers address skills shortages.

“We’re going to act on direct employee engagement, our regional skills surveys and our forthcoming census to really target action.”

Read the Customer Satisfaction Survey report

Find out more about the ECITB’s career motivations study

Find out more about the Labour Forecasting Tool 

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