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Group warns industry must pay for vital skills

The waste industry must pay the going rate for the skilled personnel it needs to recruit from other fields.

This is the key message in a series of essays on sector skills launched by the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG).

In the essays, Philip Percival, associate director at Macdonald & Company warns that to meet its looming skills gap, “recruits must be attracted to the sector from other industries.

“These ‘other industries’ typically pay higher salaries than the waste industry. Therefore, the waste industry must be receptive to the idea of offering competitive packages in order to attract new, technically advanced talent from sectors where higher pay scales are already in place.”

SITA’s external affairs director Gev Eduljee argued in his essay that the waste industry could create up to 36,000 new jobs by 2020.

He wrote: “The new resource-oriented direction of the sector has transformed its skill requirements and altered the dynamics of supply and demand.”

Use of processing technologies needed staff with appropriate technical backgrounds while increased reliance on sales of recyclates called for people experienced in procurement, sales, and commodity trading, he wrote.

This meant the sector had already begun to review pay scales, and “in almost all cases this has meant upward”.

Speaking at the launch of Sustainable Skills: the future of the waste management industry, shadow waste and water minister Gavin Shuker (pictured) said Labour would soon publish its policy on how tens of thousands of new green jobs could be created in the waste and the resources sector.

He said other European nations that had taken recycling more seriously were “moving on to new technologies and attracting investment from across the world, where we’re struggling to do so”.

Mr Shuker repeated his idea, first floated at RWM, of creating an Office of Resource Security, to look at how policy across Government could be better joined-up and to close the skill and infrastructure gap.

  • Meanwhile the Aldersgate Group, a body concerned business and sustainability, has urged Government to ensure that education and training is better designed for future needs and not merely to remedy current shortages. John Edmonds, the Aldersgate Group skills spokesman, said: “To keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, our training systems will need to provide the British workforce with a strong basis of theoretical knowledge so people will be able to adapt quickly to new demands.”

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