CITB Tackle Skill Shortage in Plant Operators with 3 year Initiative
More news from CITB this month as the organisation call for more plant operators to combat skills shortage in the construction sector.
This 3-year iniatitive from CITB is part of the ongoing Vision 2020 project, aimed at streamlining the body into providing fully supportive training for all areas of construction.
Industry placeholders for this plant operative training commission include:
• CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association)
• CECA (Civil Engineering Contractors Association)
• HAE (Hire Association Europe)
• Build UK
• Highways England
• Balfour Beatty
Why is this needed?
A recent CPA survey showed that more than 80% of employers do not undertake individuals on plant apprenticeships, with 9 out of 10 also expected not to take on any plant apprentices in the next 12 months. With only 149 N/SVQ Level 2 qualifications in plant specialisms gained in 2016 and yet 39% of respondents stating they have problems filling plant vacancies; it is clear there’s a gap in the market for both training and trained plant operators.
Further findings from this survey showed:
• Plant operation as an occupation is one of the top five in construction
• Current figures show a total UK plant operator workforce of around 289,000.
• Construction plant is on the critical path of all infrastructure
• Many employers appear not to fully understand the standard classification codes for company activity and occupations
• These also do not necessarily match the real world of work, and therefore employers may not be aware of the true importance of having trained plant operators available
• The most common areas for recruitment over the next 12 months were found to be earthmoving (26%), cranes and lifting (19%) and materials handling (5%); however around 40% of respondents said recruitment is very difficult or fairly difficult, leading to a shortfall.
• There are currently 65 relevant NVQ qualifications applicable to plant operatives, ranging from NVQ Level 2 through to NVQ Level 5, covering all aspects of plant equipment.
• Plant training is seen as “unattractive” when compared to other “more attractive” roles in construction, thus raising a need for increased awareness of what a career in plant operation can offer a construction worker. This is to be partly addressed by establishing this area up to the levels of other related apprenticeships.
CITB plan to launch other initiatives to continue to address this skill gap, including a plant skills strategy forum and a careers event.