David Richards, Leathes Prior

Despite opinions from some quarters, the construction industry is necessarily an extremely highly skilled area, with specialists in almost every niche area you can think of. Those skills range from concept, design and planning at the outset of a project, myriad trades and professions during a built, through to maintenance and repair throughout the lifetime of a building.

Fortunately, England has moved on from the medieval system of Guilds and Liveries to control the skills in the construction industry, and we now have excellent organisations such as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to provide training. I know some have criticised the organisation in the past (particularly those organisations who have to pay the levy), but anyone who has been through an apprenticeship with their help, gained employment or managed to get a promotion from skills or qualifications obtained from CITB will be very grateful.

It was therefore very sad to read about the plan to reduce the workforce of CITB by 900 staff. The Vision 2020: Business Plan 2018-21 shows a reduction in staff from 1,370 currently down to 484 in 2020/2021. With 575 based in Norfolk, in particular at the Bircham Newton (North West Norfolk, between Fakenham and Hunstanton) site, that is going to mean some very sad job losses locally. Its head office will remain there until 2019, but after that is likely to move, possibly to Peterborough.

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