Bircham Taskforce Unite to Save Construction Training

A new taskforce of key community stakeholders has been set up to help secure the future of training at the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Bircham Newton site.

The role of the taskforce is to identify opportunities for the site including possible future providers of training services and the continuation of training at the site. Bircham Newton was threatened with closure following plans set out in CITB’s strategy for reform – Vision 2020: The Future CITB .

Sarah Beale, chief executive of CITB, said: “I’m delighted that together we established the new taskforce on Friday. Not only is CITB absolutely committed to securing the future of training and the retention of jobs in Norfolk – we can now rely on the expert advice and input of each and every key local stakeholder, throughout the reform process.

“Our Vision 2020 programme has been designed to meet the expectations of both the construction industry and government who have been clear that the status quo is not an option. I very much look forward to continuing our work as part of the taskforce. It is only by working together that we will find the best possible outcome for the future of the Bircham training site.”

Attendees at the meeting included New Anglia LEP, New Anglia LEP’s Building Growth board, Morgan Sindall, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Freebridge Community Housing, CWA, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Department for Education, Norfolk County Council and Jobcentre Plus.

Sir Henry Bellingham MP for North West Norfolk, said: “I was extremely encouraged by the tone and atmosphere at the meeting. I was delighted that my proposal to retain CITB’s HQ at Bircham for a minimum of the next two years will be considered. I was also pleased that another outcome of the roundtable was the establishment of two new task forces to look at the location of the Card Schemes CITB administers and the future of the Bircham Newton site.”

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive Officer of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This was a valuable meeting and a really positive discussion between partners all keen to see the best possible outcome. Our discussions around setting up a Taskforce for the Bircham Newton site and on retaining the card checking business in its current location were particularly useful.

Saul Humphrey, Managing Director – Construction East at Morgan Sindall and Chair of the Building Growth New Anglia LEP, commented: “I was very pleased to see that there was an exceptional response from all the key stakeholders at the CITB meeting today, who all acknowledged the need for the CITB to reform, but the changes should endeavour to improve the provisions of skills to the construction industry and minimise any possible job losses.

“I was encouraged by the level of cooperation and pleased to see all particularly collaborating in a spirit of compromise to achieve the very best outcome.”

CITB will shortly report back to its board on the outcomes of the meeting, including details of the progress made to form a united local response to the challenges of moving away from the Bircham site.

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