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ConstructionSkills publishes survey on employers' attitudes to training
More than a quarter (26%) of construction businesses in the UK reduced their training activity in 2010, with 18% planning to scale back training even further in 2011, according to new research published by CITB-ConstructionSkills.
The 'Employer Attitudes and Motivations to Learning and Training survey', conducted by the Industry Training Board and Sector Skills Council for construction, asked over 1,500 construction employers how the economic downturn impacted on their training provision last year.
The survey found that job-specific training was hardest hit, with 16% of all employers cutting back.
Health and safety is also shown to be a subject area that has been impacted, with 8% of employers reducing their training support in this remit.
Two per cent of employers said they had reduced management and supervisory training.
Despite the figures, CITB-ConstructionSkills says their research does reveal that industry employers' commitment to offer training has not waned and they recognise it is crucial to post-recession recovery. 24% of construction businesses said they believe that improving staff skills and competencies is even more important in the post-recession environment.
Responding to the findings, Mark Farrar, chief executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills said: "As a cost cutting measure in times of economic hardship, training budgets are sadly often the first to suffer. Although recognition of the importance of staff skills is high, the research shows that training levels could fall further still.
"For these reasons, CITB-ConstructionSkills will be doing all it can to help and support construction employers in continuing to up-skill and train their workforce - ensuring that they have right skills, in the right place and at the right time."
The research found that 10% of companies actively increased training in 2010. Of those companies, 41% made the decision because of a need to increase the skills levels of their staff; 25% did so to give them a competitive advantage; and 9% did so because of diversification and a change in their area of work.
CITB-ConstructionSkills says it is working with businesses to address their specific training needs and that it has a range of training packages and support services is available for firms to access, designed to help alleviate costs and maximise training potential.
Mike Bialyj, employer services director at CITB-ConstructionSkills, added: "Clearly, businesses have never been more careful about how they allocate their spending, but I urge them to get in touch and we will work together identify the right solutions that suit them.
"For example, apprenticeships add value to any training programme, for which we can offer additional grants and support services."
The results of the Employer Attitudes and Motivations to Learning and Training survey have been issued ahead of the ConstructionSkills Network (CSN) - a report on the future skills and training requirements of the UK construction industry. Results of the CSN will be issued later this month.
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