1: Welcome & Apologies – Julia Coak (JC)
JC welcomed everyone in attending. Apologies had been received from Blanchard Wells; CLC Group & K & K Décor. Other Individual apologies had also been received where the company was still represented.
Attendees list – HCTA committee & members
Julia Coak, Chair (Lynx Forecourts)
Eileen Bird, Training Officer
Estell Guest, Treasurer
Paul Barton, L A Kattenhorn & Ptnrs
Steve Hale, Parchow Groundworks
Jacqueline Mansfield, Wendage Pollution Control
Kelly March & Justine Duffin, Brymor
Emily Horton, Aeropark
Kirsty Northcote, Champion Group
Lena Coffin, Cousins
Andrea Parker, Dyer & Butler
Mandy Phelps, Hexley
Chelcey Douglas, Kier Highways Services
Ray Sims, Knights Brown
Nicki Trant & Clare Calvert, PTC
Shelley Baxter, R Collard
Janet Hutchinson, R & W Civil Eng
Michelle Wilson & Michelle Hartley, R W Armstrong
Lizzi Richardson, Richardsons (Nyewood)
Sarah Groves, Selwoods
Garry Malplass, Southern Concrete
Maggie Stefaniak, Tina Craciun & Nicola Bunyan, Trant
Graham Alexander, Welbro Project Mgmt
CITB Liz Steel & Shirley Ratcliffe
Speaker Holly Cudbill, Blake Morgan
2: CITB Grant Scheme
Liz commenced her presentation on Levy, confirming that the Levy Order is with Parliament awaiting final ratification. This will fix the levy rates for the next 3 years, commencing 2018. The rates put forward are 0.35% of PAYE and 1.5% of Net CIS payments.
It is the collection of the levy which allows the payment of grants for training.
Before moving on to the new grant scheme, Liz reminded members that the deadline for claims for the current period (for Training Carried out up to 31st March 2018) are:-
- Training Plan Grants 31st May 2018
- Other grants 30th June 2018 (this is a Saturday, so please take 29th June as the final date!)
Now moving to the New Grant Scheme which comes into effect from April 2018 (see also separate sheet provided). Grants will only be paid on training specific to Construction (as laid down in levy/scope order):
- CITB registered employers can claim grant for all sub-contractors.
- The Grant Scheme will cover 3 main areas – Apprenticeships; Construction Qualifications and Short Courses.
- Apprenticeship grants remain mainly unchanged.
- Construction Qualification Grants fall into 2 categories; for Long Period Qualifications (such as HNC’s etc) there is an attendance grant and an achievement grant. Short Period Qualifications (such as NVQs and NEBOSH)
- Short Course Grants are where the main changes occur as these must meet specific standards and be provided by an approved training organisation (ATO). There are 3 levels of payment: £30; £70 & £120 and the payment will be based on the complexity of the achievement and nothing to do with the duration of attendance. From 1st April employers should check the on-line directory to check if a course has a standard and which ATO’s can offer it before then making a booking with the provider if they want to receive grant. The grant payment will then be automatic (delegates must have the company CITB registration number to link them to the company for grant purposes as happens now with site safety plus). There will be interim arrangements where a standard is not yet available. Please check though that one is in development. Maximums (a cap) exist based on the number of direct employees you have and your net CIS sub-contract wage bill as declared on your levy return (using an average of £36,000 as an average full time equivalent wage for sub-contractors to give a number) and allowing 3 courses per person. After member questions, Liz clarified that it is the total number of courses not a sum of money, so if all courses attended at the start of the year are at the lower level of payment and higher level ones done after the max. number is reached then no more grant would be paid.
- Construction Work Experience Grants are still available for Construction degree students who are employed for work experience placements. There will also still be a non-grant payment for pre-apprenticeship work experience which should be discussed with the Apprenticeship Team – The Experience Construction support.
- All grant claims will be done on line, so it is imperative that all claimants have registered for on-line grants.
Liz advised that about £150 million is allocated by CITB for the grant scheme, and an additional £20million is available to registered employers through funding routes.
For employers of less than 100 staff, the skills and training fund is still a very attractive way to access support. There is one final chance to get a bid in under existing rules for this with a deadline of 26th March.
From 1st April 2018, the only training that will supported via the Skills and Training Fund will be Construction Specific unless it is for Leadership and Management. This training does not have to be through an ATO.
Members raised questions in respect of a number of things covered above and in addition a query about e-learning was raised. Liz confirmed that, if the appropriate standard has e-learning listed as an acceptable mode of delivery then this would be grant aided.
3: HCTA & General Update
- Last Meeting – Our December meeting had focussed on what members wanted from HCTA which has been used to assist with a request for funding – see below.
- New Scheme rules for Site Safety Plus courses came into effect in January and Eileen had heard some feedback from attendees about some of the changes, particularly in respect of SMSTS refresher having less time to focus on the perceived higher risk site activities because of raising awareness on mental health issues. A member shared feedback from someone who had not got through the new test and was now having to sit the full 5 days again. Eileen suggested that it is still early days and training providers are themselves adjusting to the new arrangements.
- New H, S & E test questions also came into effect on 8th January.
- Data Protection Changes from May. See speaker notes below.
- Card schemes, in particular ALLMI cards for low-loader drivers are still being requested from some clients/main contractors rather than CPCS which is causing extra cost and administration issues for some HCTA members.
- Targets – Eileen confirmed that the Q4 targets for 2017 had all been agreed and the payment signed off by CITB and received for the regular ‘running cost’ grant.
- The first quarter of 2018 targets will be being requested soon and Eileen collected basic information on achievements from those in attendance.
- Training Group Funding – Eileen explained that the ‘running cost’ grant received from CITB for the training group is still available and that Julia had signed off the Memorandum of Understanding between HCTA and CITB on that so our regular meetings and training officer support would continue as normal. This is the only grant that has been available to training groups for all of the time Eileen has been involved with HCTA (over 10 years). However, in more recent years sums of money have been available to groups to support the training of their members workforce through a separate pot. This has now ended in the form that we have become accustomed to.
- Training Groups have been invited to put in a Business Plan to show what they hoped to be able to offer their members, which had to be in line with guidelines from CITB and, unless there were exceptional circumstances should not be for all training. HCTA had put in a bid based mainly on the ‘essential’ topics discussed by members in December
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 13th June at DoubleTree by Hilton, Chilworth, Southampton. An update on HCTA funding and discussions on Subscription rates for 2019 will be held as well as an external speaker being in attendance.
Other future meeting dates are confirmed as:-
12th September, Portsmouth & 12th December back in Basingstoke.