Optimism in waste sector over closing skills gap

In December, we reported on the skills gap in the green industry, based on a Princes Trust study into the problem of youth unemployment.  Now, a new report by the sector skills body Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) details the skills shortage in the waste sector but highlights the optimism within the industry that this problem can be solved.

The study, entitled ’UK Waste Management and Recycling Industry 2010 Labour Market Investigation’, reports an improvement in the “traditionally poor image” of the waste sector, something that is seen to have hampered recruitment, but notes positive changes in the perception of the industry.  The waste management and recycling sectors’ growing roles in fulfilling the country’s environmental agenda is a key factor in this mood shift, according to the study.

The report also notes a distinct skills gap in the sector, not only within managerial, technical and operational roles, but also in employees’ basic skills, such as Health and Safety, literacy and numeracy. This shortage may well be exacerbated by the anticipated growth of the waste sector workforce, expected to expand by at least 50,000 people over the next ten years.

As a solution to the problem, the report points to two key priorities:  “up-skilling” the existing workforce and attracting new entrants to the sector – particularly graduates when it comes to the higher-level roles.

Recycling Lives is well aware of the importance of training. Our dedicated Training Department offers a variety of courses perfectly suited for up-skilling workers in the waste, recycling and renewable energy sectors.

In addition to providing valuable training to our own employees and Residents, we offer external courses ranging from Health and Safety to advanced operational skills for a variety of technical equipment. Our expert knowledge of waste management and recycling ensures that our operational courses are taught from experience rather than just a textbook.

Our strong links with local educational institutions such as Preston College and Lancashire Adult Learning gives us access to a range of courses beyond the waste sector, including basic skills like literacy and numeracy. Recycling Lives has high hopes for the future of employment within the waste management sector and, while we can’t single-handedly solve the skills gap issue, we’re doing our best to extend our expertise to our employees, Residents and local communities.