Viridor gives operatives skills for the future

Front-line staff in Sheffield are benefiting from a training programme at Viridor that can lead to personal success and promotion

Viridor Waste Management has started a new phase of a training initiative for its waste management staff in and around Sheffield. Eleven more operatives have started a training programme in environmental conservation (community recycling) and waste management, which will earn them level two NVQs.

Most of the operatives come from Viridor's facility at Salmon Pastures and its Parkwood landfill site in South Yorkshire. The company started the first phase of a comprehensive NVQ programme two years ago, when it sponsored 26 level two candidates, 15 managers/supervisors at level three and four senior managers on the diploma standard level four programme. Now a total of 37 staff have been trained.

Many have gone on to do further training at higher levels. One of the candidates, Paul Warrington, has also been promoted within the secure product destruction team to supervisor. Warrington feels that he would not have gained this personal success without the training. He now has NVQ level two and three passes.

Dr Andrew Goddard, technical manager at Salmon Pastures, says: "We've gained real business benefits from staff undertaking the NVQ programme, particularly at level two, where most people hadn't previously established a life-long learning habit.

"They are now much more confident about answering questions on their work in the course of inspections by bodies such as the Environment Agency and the Heath and Safety Executive. Some have gained an added advantage in that the training has prompted them to return to learning for personal benefit and pleasure."

Environmental custodians
Tom Franklin, unit manager at Parkwood Landfill, adds: "People don't think of waste management as an industry with a skilled workforce. However, Viridor considers it to be essential in providing a highly professional service.

"In many ways we are custodians of the environment and it is essential that everyone contributes to the best of their ability and beyond. We are pleased to have been able to access a number of local funding initiatives to accelerate the training process."

Viridor is using locally based specialist Environmental Monitoring Solutions (EMS) as its training provider. A team of five EMS staff provide training in areas such as environmental conservation and management, waste management, and occupational health and safety.

EMS trainer Rebecca Chapman and her team ran hour-long training sessions for Viridor's manual staff in the initial phase of the NVQ programme and is looking forward to working with the company again.

She says: "We will be accrediting the operatives' competence in waste management and recycling. We will be repeating awareness-raising sessions on ISO 14001 and waste management, especially on legislation requirements. This is vital to operating waste sites effectively and lies at the heart of Viridor's corporate ethos."

MS can offer 100% funding on NVQ level two training in environmental conservation (community recycling) through the Train to Gain initiative.

EMS
www.em-solutions.co.uk

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