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The most asked CITB questions

You’re probably sitting there, considering CITB, wanting to get involved and access the funding, but still have a few questions that you need answers to give you the confidence or final kick over the line to apply and use.

So, we’ve listed the most frequent questions we got asked over the last 12 months below.

  1. Who and what are the CITB?

Luckily, there’s now a wealth of information on our CITB funding page and outlined in our blog, ‘Who are CITB’. In this blog, we discuss how Painttech Training Academy has worked with people to access the government funding specially allocated for the construction industry via CITB to upskill themselves and their employees over the years. CITB also offer CITB funding for apprenticeships.


  1. What do the CITB actually do for the industry? I’m worried they’ll take my money and don’t offer anything to the trade.

The CITB offer a lot to the smaller construction companies and one-man bands as well as the bigger construction businesses. It’s mentioned in the blog that we reference in point number 1. The CITB has been around for a long time, and its primary role is to ensure that the people working in the construction industry are trained. A lot of people that work in the industry are self-employed, and for this reason, it is harder for them to keep their skills up to date. The government and CITB know this and have opened additional funding channels for sole traders. More can be read about this in our previous blog. Your CITB Training Grants.

But picking up on the second part regards to taking your money. The CITB takes money off the massive companies that can afford to spend on training and gives that money to small micro companies to spend on training. Small companies benefit because they get their training paid for, and large companies benefit because they have a pool of skilled labour that they can recruit from. It may sound too good to be true, but the levy is in place to only take money from companies spending £120,000 and above in employee wages. If you don’t consider yourself to be ever in that category, then you’ll never have to pay.

Everybody wins.


  1. Do I have to pay back a grant?

The simple answer to this is no. It is not a loan; it is a grant to use towards training. You get given the grant every year as well. The only caveat is that if you don’t do the training that you’ve applied for within the year, then you will have to give the grant back. It can only be used for the courses specified on that year’s CITB grant application form.

Following on from the point above, even if you begin to pay above £120,000 in wages and are required to pay something back to CITB, it is very unlikely to be anywhere near the grants you have received over the previous years. If you want to be sure and have the confidence of knowing what you’ll pay back, you can take advance of our online levy calculator.


  1. The CITB are only interested in large businesses. What do the CITB do for smaller companies?

This is almost a repeat in question 2 as small businesses fear that they’re either not big enough to have access to the same funding as bigger businesses or that they’re cared for less. But the CITB has been set up to be there for the smaller businesses. Small businesses and sole traders make up around 80% of the construction industry. The government know this and understand the importance of upskilling and training these businesses to grow and make more profit. After all, if you can earn more profit, the government are able to take more tax from you. So if you think CITB sounds too good to be true, giving away the government’s money for free without ever demanding it back, realise that the government have their reasons, and just that its reasoning happens to benefit you more.

The CITB grants have been set up to benefit smaller businesses where larger businesses are more likely to take advantage of the apprenticeship funding.


  1. Will I pay a Levy?

Simply put, large companies pay a levy, and small companies don’t. It is based on your wage bill. If your wages are more than £120,000 a year, then you will pay a 0.05% levy. As mentioned in point 3, there is a levy calculator on the CITB website that you can find via this link. If your wage bill is never in access of £120,000, you will never need to pay anything while continuing to get a yearly grant of £2500 or £5000. The only thing CITB expects of you is to file annual paperwork confirming your yearly company wage.


  1. They take a % of your turnover once you have registered and got a grant. What qualifies a business to make a Levy contribution?

Yes, they do. If your wage bill is above £120,000 per year. But if it never reaches this, you will never pay anything towards the CITB levy. We’ve mentioned this several times throughout this blog, but it’s important we express these answers in different ways. It’s one of the most common worries from those considering CITB, so we want to be clear, if your wage bill is under £120,000, then you won’t pay anything, ever, as long as it stays below £120,000.


  1. How do I qualify for a grant?

Firstly, against common belief, we find that most people are eligible for a CITB grant. Especially with the latest changes, offering a £2500 grant to those classed as micro businesses. All you need to be is registered with the CITB, and if you are not already registered, then it’s a simple process. If you are a limited company, you need employees on your payroll. If you are a smaller business and don’t have PAYE staff, you need to be CIS registered and be registered with the CITB. We have created a previous blog that covers everything in much more detail. SEE BLOG.


  1. The grants are a one-off. How frequently can I apply for a grant?

The best part of CITB is that it’s not a one-off grant like some general grants you see. CITB is a dedicated funding source for those in the construction trade that can be applied for each year. Your year starts from the date you receive your funding, and you must use it on the courses you specified before the end of 12 months from the start date. If you don’t, you will be expected to pay anything unused back. You also can’t spend it on any courses not confirmed within your application, though you can request to change the courses you wish to take that year.


  1. It is too good to be true. What is the catch?

In fairness, it does sound too good to be true. £5000 each year for training that you’re never expected to pay back. But we can assure you that it is true and well worth having. Once you’ve been through the process, been given the money and done your training, you’ll understand there is no catch.

If it helps, remember from our point above that the government make more money in tax from you making more profit, so it’s very much in their interest for you to be upskilled and grow your business.

If you are unsure, you can speak to us or even talk to other decorators who are just like you and have been through the process.


  1. How do I get in touch with someone from the CITB when I have an issue?

Every area has its own dedicated CITB contact. Their job is to look after you, answer your questions and assist where needed. We can let you know who your contact person is, and you can speak to them yourself. They will answer all your questions. They will also look after you with any concerns you have. The best thing to do is get in contact with our CITB specialist, who can advise you further and put you in touch with who would be your CITB contact.


  1. Why can’t I get a grant as a small business with no PAYE staff?

Yes, you now can. As mentioned above, in 2022, CITB extended their edibility for funding to include smaller micro businesses. These companies can now apply for £2,500 of grants per year. The only criteria are that you must have employed a sub-contractor and are registered for CIS. Your accountant would do this. Your CITB advisor can explain this in more detail if you are unclear.


  1. How do I register for the CITB?

Registering for CITB can be done by using the forms found online here. Depending on how experienced you are in filling out these types of forms will determine how easy applying will be. But you don’t have to do it alone, and we can simplify the process. Our team has vast experience supporting people to fill in their application forms and can do the same for you. Please get in touch with Keith, our own CITB expert, who will support you all the way.


Book a call with a member of our team to see how CITB can help you progress in your career.



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