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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