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Training boosts business success

Getting the right training is essential in supporting staff to deliver and operate in safe working environments.

The WAMITAB Level 4 Diploma in Waste Management Operations is one of two schemes approved to deliver technical competence within England and Wales (see box on next page). The qualification includes a suite of mandatory units and sector-specific pathways designed to keep the workplace safe and compliant.

Michael Blunt, construction, design and management (CDM) manager for Sheffield’s Streets Ahead highways account, recently completed the 12-unit qualification, specialising in Managing the Transfer of Hazardous Waste. This qualification is equivalent to the first year of a degree or an HNC and is a genuinely demanding programme, particularly for someone who learned to read and write only in his 40s.

Blunt, who has been working for Amey since it won the account with Sheffield City Council, explains that his dyslexia meant he left school at 14 with no obvious career path: “I went for a mining job but didn’t get it because, on the first day, I walked past this big sign. I couldn’t read it but apparently it said ‘danger, do not enter’, so they chucked me out.”

Blunt’s career has encompassed a variety of jobs in the transport industry, including setting up a trucking company, and it has provided him with some interesting anecdotes. One includes having a gun pointed at his head by an unforgiving Hungarian border guide following a dispute over paperwork.

For Blunt, it was his niece asking him to read her a story that really sparked the drive to learn, followed by a chance meeting with a former employee’s widow. He volunteered to help her in a civil case but that meant he had to quickly develop his reading and writing skills before ultimately securing her a £750,000 payout.

With a renewed confidence, Blunt moved into a role advising on shipping dangerous goods, then into waste management and other CDM roles before his job with Amey.

As CDM manager, Blunt is responsible for ensuring that all elements of the process are compliant with regulations, covering a wide range of areas such as waste, construction, health and safety, environmental, transport, employees and contractors.

He had achieved a waste management award some 10 years earlier, so had good background knowledge, but recognised that the Level 4 Diploma would help him to ensure that the Streets Ahead project was compliant with current environmental regulations. Blunt explained that it required good time management skills to balance the demands of the qualification and a full-time job. But he has found the experience invaluable in supporting his day-to-day work activity and would recommend the Diploma to others.

The qualification was delivered by AT NERAC (see box above). Blunt’s assessor, Adrian Davies, explains: “Mick has severe dyslexia and was worried about the presentation of his work, so taught himself to type to facilitate the production of his personal statements and answers. I supported Mick in collating his portfolios, and reassured him that his evidence met the standards for the qualification, which was ultimately borne out by him winning the Melvin Davies Award (see ‘Awarding body’ box).”

Darren Butt, Streets Ahead operations manager, adds: “I’d like to congratulate Mick on his achievement. To be singled out for recognition from among more than 300 candidates is a considerable achievement, but for someone with his history, it is particularly impressive. Amey is committed to investing in the learning and development of all employees, recognising that this is crucial to our long-term business success.”

At this year’s RWM with CIWM show, WAMITAB will be showcasing its range of regulated qualifications as well as two additions to its portfolio on stand 4H08-J109, Hall 4.

WAMITAB Accredit is designed to accredit in-house training programmes, and Validate is a modular programme to assess workplace competence with a strong focus on health and safety compliance.

Chris James is chief executive of WAMITAB

At NERAC and the Melvin Davies award

  • Assessment & Training, NERAC (AT NERAC) is a Yorkshire-based WAMITAB approved centre operating nationally for waste management awards, continuing competence refresher courses, IOSH qualifications, Driver CPC training and accredited first aid courses, together with a wide range of other training and services to meet the needs of the waste, recycling and associated industries.

  • The Melvin Davies Outstanding Portfolio of the Year Award was introduced in 2011 at the suggestion of Melvin Davies’ widow, Barbara, to commemorate her husband’s work as a lead internal verifier and assessor at AT NERAC. Each year the organisation’s assessors put forward portfolios they consider to be outstanding for consideration.

Amey and streets ahead

Streets Ahead is Amey’s 25-year, £2bn contract with Sheffield City Council to upgrade and maintain the city’s highways. As well as maintaining roads, pavements, trees and streetscene, it also provides services such as street cleaning and winter gritting. ›

WAMITAB and other competence schemes

Two schemes are approved to deliver technical competence in England and Wales:

  • The Energy & Utility Skills/ Environmental Services Association Competence Management Scheme
  • The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and WAMITAB Operator Competence Scheme

The latter categorises the different types of facility into three ‘risk tiers’: High, Medium and Low. One of the key relevant qualifications is the WAMITAB Level 4 Diploma in Waste Management Operations, which is a combination of mandatory units and specialist pathways based on the type of operation. Those operating High Risk sites require the 12-unit qualification,

Medium Risk sites need six units and Low Risk sites need four units. Medium and Low Risk sites can opt for the VRQ Level 4 Certificate in Waste and Resource Management, which comprises five generic units plus one specialist unit.

  • In Northern Ireland, the Certificate of Technical Competence (COTC) is the primary means for managers of waste management facilities to demonstrate their technical competence in accordance with the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.
  • In Scotland, the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Scotland) 2003 were revised in March 2011. There is no longer a legal requirement for a technically competent person in Scotland to hold a COTC. Operators in Scotland should contact their Scottish Environment Protection Agency regulatory officer to check other competence arrangements.

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