*Sponsored content from Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

As CITB’s Customer and Product Director I have seen first-hand what our industry can achieve when we pull together and work collaboratively. 


Jackie Ducker, CITB Customer and Product Director

My background is in construction and I joined the industry because I wanted to be part of a world that genuinely makes a difference – that leaves a legacy for others.

Construction is like no other industry. For me it’s the people that make it, literally. Without us the world just doesn’t work. I have never met a community of people who genuinely care about what they do the way the construction industry does – solving problems every day by using their skills, expertise and innovation. 

I have been part of companies of all sizes. I started out at a small, specialist contractor. Then moved to regional contracting, before working for a large infrastructure company as their Customer Experience Director, overseeing support services and working on large civil engineering projects.

No matter the size of the company, the one thing that unites them is the need to deliver results for their customers.

This experience, along with my energy for putting customers first, means I am determined to help SMEs grow their businesses by:

  • Making training and funding easier to access
  • Helping reduce the skills gap
  • Encouraging greater collaboration.

Reducing the skills gap

One key blocker to growth remains: a lack of skills.

Although this is not new, there is cause for optimism.

When employers take collective action with our support, the results speak for themselves:

  • Our Construction Skills Fund hubs have trained over 6,000 site-ready candidates, with just under 3,000 progressing into sustained construction employment
  • The National Construction College (NCC) provides first class training – with 4,162 learners completing their courses in the previous quarter – as well as specialist skills training where there is high demand but low provision, such as scaffolding and plant operations
  • Over 1,000 SMEs accessed support from the Skills & Training Fund, ensuring vital skills were not lost through the pandemic.

Collectively, industry is helping to nurture the next generation of skills. It is vital we keep building on this.



Small and medium businesses make a massive contribution to training for the future, and I know how committed FMB members are to apprenticeships. There are large incentives available – with £11,000 in grants over the course of a three-year apprenticeship from CITB – and we are here to help more employers take up this offer.

We recognise the biggest barrier preventing SMEs recruiting apprentices is often a lack of time.

The CITB Engagement Team are on hand to make the process as easy and timely as possible for all employers: finding talented candidates, organising training and taking care of the paperwork.

Simplifying training


To get great skills you need great, cost-effective training. And that requires collaboration.

This is best demonstrated by our Training Groups offer. Funded by CITB, the Groups allow employers to band together to collectively negotiate discounts from Training Providers. Over 1,000 businesses were supported with accessing training via Training Groups during the first six months of 2021 – achieving cost savings of more than £500,000.

The more employers who take up this offer, the greater the potential savings. Win, win.

Employers are well placed to identify the industry’s upcoming training needs. Help us plan ahead and get in touch to discuss your skills gaps – we are here to support you.

Looking ahead

Construction offers its workforce a fantastic opportunity to upskill, earn a good wage and tackle the big issues like infrastructure, housing and climate change. A chance to make a real difference to society.

It is up to us all, collectively, to promote that positive message.

Orderbooks are overflowing, wages are rising, and construction output has bounced back – so I am optimistic for what the future holds.

I will continue to listen, to inform and evolve our offer. But to best meet the challenges ahead, we need employers to continue taking on apprentices, accessing our initiatives and working collectively to equip the industry with the skills it requires.

This year we will also be looking at how we can simplify our approach to increase the accessibility of our support.

Let’s work together to ensure the construction industry continues to thrive.


*Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored content, which is independent of the FMB. Publication does not constitute endorsement or recommendation from the FMB.


Jackie Ducker,

Jackie Ducker,

Customer and Product Director, CITB