Bircham Newton to Close After Major CITB Shake-Up


‘An end of an era’, Bircham Newton Construction College is set to close by 2019.

The 50-year-old Bircham Newton base in Norfolk has been the must go-to training college for thousands of scaffolders over the years.

Sources say the CITB management called a meeting and broke the news to staff yesterday.

The news comes after the CITB training body laid out plans to streamline its business operations as part of a major shake-up was revealed. The CITB, which is funded by a levy on construction firms, will no longer carry out direct training.

In future, the body will oversee training by external private sector training providers.

A recent government review of the CITB found that although construction employers and trade associations voted for the industry levy to continue, there was heavy criticism of how it currently operates.

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB, said: “Construction needs to modernise and CITB is no exception. We accept the challenges laid down by industry and Government and we will deliver a future-fit training body by adapting and updating our business model.

“Some really tough decisions could be made under these proposals but I’m confident in our commitment to becoming a more representative, accountable and reliable ‘levy in, skills out’ organisation. We now have a clearly defined path, and we see a bright future for a modern, engaged CITB. We look forward to working with our industry and Government to build a better Britain.” 

Job losses are rumored to be on the cards among the CITB’s 1,300 staff, but no official comment has been made available.

CISRS Scheme Manager Dave Mosley said “It’s the end of an era and a great shame. CITB has played a huge role in establishing the CISRS scheme and Scaffolder training over the years.

It’s a real blow to the scaffolding industry, although we are being assured by CITB/NCC that they will not pull out of training until there is alternative provision, I can only see this having a negative effect whilst the requirement for a skilled labour force continues to increase”.