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NRAs 2019: Excellence in Learning and Development

WINNER: British Metals Recycling Association

Recognising the need for sector-specific learning and development opportunities for employees within the metals recycling industry, a trailblazer working group (TWG) comprising the British Metals Recycling Association, ELG Haniel, Mellor Metals, EMR, Sims, S Norton & Co, Recycling Lives, Recycled Products, Sackers and Ward came together to develop the first ever sector-specific apprenticeship.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “It is a big achievement to have got such a partnership to work together to deliver an apprenticeship scheme that is valued. It highlights the skills and knowledge needed by the people in this under-recognised area.”

The first pilot cohort was launched in November 2018 by Sir Gerry Berragen, chief executive of the Institute of Apprenticeships at a special event at EMR Willesden.

Given the complexities of the metals recycling sector and the TWG’s desire to ensure the apprenticeship was fit for purpose, it took two years to get the metal recycling general operative apprenticeship approved for delivery.

The result is a level 2 apprenticeship designed to teach the wide-ranging set of skills and the knowledge needed to work on any metal recycling site.

Developing an apprenticeship for companies of all sizes, that handle a multitude of metals using different processes was challenging. To overcome this, the TWG devised a scheme with a core learning section plus the option to specialise in one of five subjects: weighbridge, material classification, waste electrical and electronic equipment, material handler or end-of-life vehicles.

It was clear that unless there was trust and collaboration, the objective of providing a workforce with broad skills would fail. In an industry first, larger firms are supporting smaller ones by offering training locations for those elements of the apprenticeship not found on smaller yards.

It is hoped that apprenticeships and visible career progression will increase staff retention which has traditionally been poor in the metals recycling sector. To ensure visible career progression, a level 4 technical manager apprenticeship is currently in development.


  • LondonEnergy
  • Parry & Evans

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