Training takes priority in waste management sector

High standards of qualification and training are required at all levels throughout the environmental services and waste management sectors with training organisations, professional bodies and academic institutions continuously developing new choices for individuals and employers to meet the educational challenge posed by new methods of operation and ever stricter regulation

The training and educational infrastructure serving the waste management and environmental sectors is developing rapidly to reflect the professionalism required across the board which has been recognised at a national level in the form of the chartered status awarded to the former Institute of Wastes Management.

CIEH is not only involved in professional education and training within the UK, but also operates in partnerships with organisations around the world to provide qualifications, training products, services and support materials, in all aspects of environmental health.

There are centres for CIEH training in over 60 countries and, through the institute's network of 20,000 registered trainers, over five million candidates have achieved a CIEH qualification. Over 500,000 certificates are issued each year to successful candidates around the globe. Activities on the educational front highlighted in the annual report for 2001, included the commissioning of research and the drawing up of an action plan to stop the fall in student numbers.

CIWM, which provides an extensive range of training courses to ensure that professional and relevant training is delivered, covering qualification and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for members, also offers training courses for the specific needs of an organisation. Bodies such as the Environment Agency, SEPA, local authorities and overseas organisations have benefited from such courses.

Currently, the programme is being developed within a partnership approach with the ESA, under which the industry's training will be carried out jointly by ESA and CIWM and administered by CIWM.

Details of the training programme from 2003, which will be a joint venture between the two bodies, are expected to be announced in the late autumn.

In the specific area of recycling the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is to run a series of training courses, managed by IWM Business Services Ltd, to help local authorities improve their recycling rates. The courses are being held regionally.

Workforce development
Reflecting the waste management industry's drive to enhance standards of skill and training across the sector, WINTO - the Waste Industry National Training Organisation - is actively promoting its case to government to be confirmed as the Sector Skills Council for the waste and secondary resource management industry.

Although the organisation has interim recognition as Standards Setting Body for the industry, confirmation would reinforce its role and open up access to potential funding from government.

A major initiative is already under way at WINTO with the development of a Workforce Development Plan (WDP) for the waste sector. This strategic document, which should be available towards the end of August, identifies the labour market, workforce and skills development needs of the relevant industry sector. It highlights relevant priorities for the area and specifies how to achieve greater success for employees and employers.

In preparing the WDP, WINTO, with its appointed consultant, D G Associates, consulted widely with the industry, ESA, CIWM, and other interested bodies, as well as running a number of consultation workshops.

WAMITAB - the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board - which was established in 1989 and is the Awarding Body for National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), and is also the authorised awarding body for the issue and control of the Certificate of Technical Competence (COTC) scheme, in association with the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, has developed its role in recent years to include areas such as street cleansing.

Two new WAMITAB NVQs for Street Cleansing Operations - Levels 1 and 2 - were launched at the IWM 2002 event in Torbay.

The WAMITAB Framework for NVQs covers a wide range of waste activities, from waste collection to treatment, transfer and landfill operations.

Waste management companies such as Onyx place quality high on the agenda, with, in this particular group's case, an increasing number of staff passing the highest levels of industry training. Onyx says: "Training and quality involves everyone at Onyx, from senior management to more junior staff, being committed to the principles."

The company, which currently has 69 employees working towards COTC accreditation in areas from waste treatment to transfer, landfill, civic amenity and waste collection, has a team of 10 assessors organising the training and development of staff. Onyx Operations Director, Richard Bray, was recently awarded his third certificate and Barry Vaughan, a Weighbridge Operator, is the latest member of staff to have secured the COTC for his work at the Southleigh landfill site.

He was presented with his certificate by Laurence Strong, Director-General of WAMITAB in a ceremony which marked the 4,000th certificate presented by the industry board.

In the related, and significant, construction sector where building and demolition waste account for roughly 17% of total waste production in the UK, industry has also been backing moves to boost training.

CIRIA, the construction research body, has updated and launched its Waste Minimisation in Construction training pack to assist those involved in training staff.

The new edition , which includes a CD and a video, is designed to be flexible and can be adapted for use according to delegates attending each training session, from board level to site operators.


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