The CITB site at Bircham Newton. Picture: Paul Tibbs

A major West Norfolk training provider has announced plans to axe 110 jobs by the end of the year.

The proposal comes two weeks after the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), which  has a site at Bircham Newton, announced measures to reduce costs due to the pandemic.

A formal consultation with trade unions and employee representatives began on Tuesday.

CITB bosses said the job losses would reduce the organisation’s payroll bill by 17 per cent, saving £4.5m per year.

The company claims the loss of industry levy income will amount to more than £240m over the next three years.

On its website, Sarah Beale, CITB chief executive, said the impact of COVID-19 had been severe. 

“Our response – advancing apprenticeship grants and cutting levy bills – was critical to support construction employers during the crisis,” she said. 

“But the combination of less industry activity and lower levy rates has reduced our forecast income over this three year period. 

“We have to cut back our back-office and management costs to maintain a constant focus on giving construction employers the direct support that they need.”

Ms Beale said proposals to lose so many valued and committed colleagues was “deeply distressing”.

“Everyone in the CITB team has really impressed me with their incredible efforts in helping the industry adapt to our changed situation and in delivering outstanding work to our customers,” she added.

“I would much rather not be in this position, but our duty is to support and be accountable to the construction industry and that is where we must focus.”

Earlier this month, union representatives hit out at the company for what it said was a “triple whammy of attacks on pay, conditions and jobs” faced by the workforce of around 700.

It is understood around 150 staff are employed at the West Norfolk site.

Unite representatives said CITB had indicated it was to “embark on a large scale job cutting exercise”.

Union representatives were angry when the company announced it was to cancel workers’ planned pay rise.

They also hit out at a proposed change to redundancy terms where staff would receive one week’s pay per year of service, rather than the current three week’s pay.