Unite Scotland declares CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) Vision 2020 strategy as a short-sighted fire sale, which threatens the future of industry training in Scotland.
Unite official blasts the “weasel words” of CITB chief executive as “a betrayal” of the workforce.
In November last year the CITB announced that it was undertaking a major restructure. That included the possibility of CITB ceasing to provide training directly and instead selling those businesses off to private providers. In a memo to staff last week the CITB’s chief executive, Sarah Beale ended any doubts - CITB’s plans are “...to exit all direct training by the beginning of 2020, with the intention to sell these activities ideally as a going concern ...If we cannot sell ... then we will need to close some business areas.”
Unite Scotland believes that this yet another example of senior management in the public sector seeing sell-offs as the answer to their own business failures. Unite’s Regional Officer David McGurk said: “This is disastrous for the future of skills training in Scotland. This is the failed model of “outsourcing” by any other name. But worse, in this case the family silver is going to be flogged off at fire sale prices. Unite will not accept this.”
The Beale Memo is especially bad news for Scotland. It puts the future of the Inchinnan national training centre on hold and with that puts more than 100 jobs in jeopardy. Late in January Sarah Beale met with the relevant Scottish Government minister for training. She noted in her memo : “I re-emphasised our commitment to the Modern Apprenticeship programme and outlined our plan to step back from operating NCC Inchinnan. However, I underlined our clear intention to continue training at the site until a buyer is found.”
Unite’s David McGurk says: “These are double-dealing, weasel words. A so-called commitment to the apprenticeship programme combined with a plan to step back from operating Inchinnan. This is a betrayal of the workers at Inchinnan and indeed of the future apprentices in Scotland. The Scottish government must refuse to accept these proposals.”
Unite Scotland believes this ‘strategy’ will create a skills ‘black hole’ of huge proportions in Scotland by 2020. For example Inchinnan provides the only scaffolding apprentice programme in the country. If the proposed sell off fails scaffolding apprenticeships will end. And that is only one example.