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Backing for new sector apprenticeships

Apprenticeships tailored to the waste sector have been approved in principle and an industry-led group is developing a package of standards and assessment.

The outlines of a Level 2 Resource Operative and a Level 4 Resource Technical Manager qualifications were put together by the group, which is chaired by Veolia. Representatives include CIWM and Wamitab while Energy & Utility Skills is providing administrative support.

A Level 3 standard for supervisers is also being considered for future submission. Those for metals waste and street cleansing are being developed separately.

The Trailblazer Apprenticeships are a devolved policy area. Standards differ from previous apprenticeships in England because are they are employer-led, not structured around qualifications and require 20% off-the-job learning.

They are being funded through a levy paid by all employers in the UK with an annual pay bill of more than £3m. In England, employers recoup their levy by enrolling staff on to apprenticeship programmes. Smaller companies do not pay the levy but they can get 90%-funded apprenticeships if they put in 10% themselves. 

CIWM chief executive Dr Colin Church said: “Turning waste into a resource and adopting more circular economy practices is becoming a priority for businesses, and this represents a welcome opportunity to try to ensure these important and fundamental ‘green’ skills are recognised and promoted.”

Chris James, WAMITAB chief executive, said it was one of the biggest changes in apprenticeship design, delivery and funding for more than a decade.

“The Government has been pushing for an employer-led approach for the past decade. It is important that professional bodies and awarding organisations pool their experience with employers and key stakeholders to produce a fit-for-purpose standard,” he said.

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