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Training & Skills Development

TOPIC – Training on Plant in Construction


TOPIC is a training forum administered by the Construction Plant-hire Association in conjunction with CITB to promote and develop training within the Plant sector. The forum looks at the provision of training and other related issues that are specifically relevant to the plant sector.


TOPIC has three main aims:

  • to increase the number of new recruits to the industry,
  • to increase the skill levels of the existing workforce,
  • to increase the sector’s effectiveness in working with awarding organisations and certificating bodies

The membership of the forum is made up of CPA member representatives drawn from the various Special Interest Groups within CPA plus support from CITB staff. The forum is currently chaired by Bob Harper, Head of Training, Ashsted Plant Hire Ltd.


TOPIC have initiated and developed a number of products such as an apprenticeship at Levels 2 and 3 in Hire Desk Operations. The Group delivers Careers Guidance events to schools and other organisations giving information which is specific to the plant sector. TOPIC has further supported the Construction and Built Environment Diplomas for 14 – 19 year olds with the provision of occupational case studies relating to the plant industry.


The forum is also used as an additional vehicle to pass on information from CITB and awarding organisations to CPA and its members. This includes subjects ranging from the provision of training grants in plant training, to NVQ’s in the CPCS card scheme. The CPA further delivers regular updates to the forum members on the activities of the Strategic Forum for Construction's Plant Safety Group.


TOPIC launched the Construction Plant Trainers Forum in 2008 which is a collaborative group made up of representatives from CITB and Further Education Colleges engaged in the provision of Plant Maintenance training and qualifications.


TOPIC are also the driving force behind the very succesful 'Stars of the Future' awards programme where the achievements and successes of trainees and apprentices within the plant sector are recognised through an annual awards ceremony. TOPIC further plan to widen the scope for the 2019 period onwards.


The plant sector plays a vital part in the construction industry and with the ever increasing technological advances incorporated in today’s plant and machinery, there is a constant need to develop the current apprenticeship training provision to reflect and meet the needs of the construction industry plant sector. TOPIC will further be involved in a co-ordinating role with the new trailblazer apprenticeships being developed by industry-led working groups


If you are of a like mind and wish to participate in the activities or if you have any training related issues which you think TOPIC should address please contact Rob Squires on 0207 796 3366 or at 

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