The OCTG was centre of attention at a regional bi-annual CITB Skills for Growth Forum, held in Guildford on May 8th.
Invited to address an audience which comprised local authority representatives, major building contractors, civil engineers, together with Experian and the CITB itself, the Group’s Training Officer, David Holbrook, explained that the OCTG aims to provide ongoing support and advice to its Members in a variety of ways, including offering workforce development and employment solutions, training planning and evaluation and the stimulation of apprenticeship programmes.
David informed listeners that the Group currently has 40 paid-up Members, the majority of whom are CITB in-scope employers, and six Associate (Partner) Members, including Colleges and preferred training providers.
He went on to talk about the Group’s development of EcoBuilder, explaining how a Level 3 Qualification in Sustainable Construction has come into being as a result of collaboration with the NHBC – together with significant CITB support funding. And he added that work has now started on a Level 2 (&1) Qualification.
The further development of these qualifications is one of the Group’s key objectives, David explained. But there are other important targets, he added. They include reinstating the Apprentice of the Year Awards, growing the Membership, striving to achieve annual CITB targets and staging further NVQ Supervisory programmes.
As for the challenges facing Training Groups like the OCTG, David identified the economy and market confidence, pressures of existing contractual work in progress, apprenticeships and fostering greater Member engagement in attending quarterly General Meetings as being among those items high on his priority list.
Speaking after addressing the Forum, David said: “Although a regular participant at these forums, it was a perfect opportunity to showcase the work of the Independent Training Group network, of which there are around 80, including specialists e.g. roofing.
"The fact there was such a diverse group of people in attendance, emanating from areas such as Sussex, Hampshire, London and surrounding districts, it was gratifying to acquaint everyone as to what may exist in their area. In addition, my primary purpose in being there was to bring the views of employers (both large and small) to the table, in order that future CITB skills’ agenda may be influenced.”