New qualifications focused specifically on recycling are now available for uptake by the waste industry, with Wastesavers Recycling in Newport saying it has become the first organisation in the UK to offer such a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).
The NVQs have been developed with funding from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) due to the lack of appropriate qualifications available for operatives such as kerbside collectors and those on Civic Amenity sites.
Previous qualifications aimed more at the public and private sectors and thus neglecting the voluntary sector, had been hastily adapted from generic waste management NVQs and were therefore not specifically related to the daily job functions undertaken by recycling operatives.
The new qualifications aim to help individuals wanting to find employment as recycling operatives enter the sector, as well as provide career progression for those already employed in the industry.
Energy and Utility (EU) Skills developed the standards, and City and Guilds and the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB) developed the NVQs.
The qualifications have been launched as City and Guilds revealed research that highlighted the lack of training within the recycling industry.
One in ten recycling staff acknowledged that lack of training was not only damaging to their career prospects but also the success of recycling schemes, with a third thinking that with better training the amount of waste recycled would improve.
EU Skills strategy development manager Richard Johnson said: “The newly launched NVQ Level 1 and 2 and forthcoming Level 3 and 4 in Recycling Operations will ensure that the workforce within this industry has the appropriate skills required to undertake their occupations efficiently. These qualifications will also clearly define the opportunities for employees to progress within their chosen career occupation, which in turn may act as a mechanism to encourage individuals to enter the recycling industry as a viable career option.”