The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) at Bircham Newton has received an outstanding rating from Ofsted, despite uncertainty over the future of jobs at the site. 

Inspectors visited the apprenticeship and training facility in October and rated it as outstanding in all areas – effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for learners.

However, two weeks ago, CITB – which is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the construction sector – announced in a report named Vision 2020 – The Future CITB, that it could relocate to Peterborough, which could place  around 600 jobs in jeopardy.

In the report, Ofsted inspectors said leaders had established a culture of extremely high expectations and a very large majority of apprentices gained high-quality practical skills.

The report stated: “Leaders, including trustees, are highly ambitious and ensure that the CITB apprenticeship provision meets the very varied recruitment and training needs of employers across the UK construction industry.”

There was also praise for the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and inspectors said: “Apprenticeship officers and tutors make very good use of their excellent sector knowledge to check, develop and extend apprentices’ practical skills, knowledge and understanding.

“Consequently, most apprentices rapidly develop good vocational, industry-standard skills, make the progress expected of them and significantly improve their knowledge of the construction sector.”

Apprentices were found to demonstrate exceptionally high standards in their practical work, take great pride in their work and were highly appreciative of the education and training they receive.

In order to improve further, inspectors said leaders and managers should continue to ensure achievement rates in the few remaining under performing subcontractors improve to be in line with the expectations of employers and board members.

They should also ensure staff consistently help apprentices improve the accuracy of their written English skills.

When news broke of the potential relocation, North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham criticised the move and said it was essential that existing training facilities were kept at Bircham.

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