ConstructionSkills has confirmed that it has held initial discussions with ministers about transferring funding for training programmes from local colleges to employers. However, ConstructionSkills has also said that there are no firm plans, no time scale and any proposals would require a lot of discussion before any changes took place.

ConstructionSkills chief executive Mark Farrar said, in an interview with Building magazine, that ConstructionSkills had secured agreement in principle from skills minister John Hayes to allow the skills body to channel funding directly to construction employers.

Surveys by ConstructionSkills show that many new joiners lack job-specific technical skills.

Mark Farrar said: “Apprenticeships are employer-led. But for wider training this is not the case. Currently if a course is in place, then students will go to it and funding will follow to the college. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an employer demand for the skill. I think industry will have a better grasp of the skills that are required by the sector.”

FPDC’s Paul Jessop said: “FPDC welcomes the news that Government has finally seen that the construction industry, not colleges, should control how funds for construction training are spent. All we need now is for ConstructionSkills to give each sector of construction control over spending the financially draining levy funds it pays in. Then we might begin to get the right quantities of the right skills that construction is going to need.”