Manchester-based plastic reprocessor Axion Polymers hosted a visit from Kate Green MP who praised the company’s progress in expanding its technical resource recovery capabilities and creating skilled employment opportunities.
She toured Axion’s multi-million pound Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP) at Trafford Park, Manchester, one of the most advanced of its type in Europe. Non-metallic fractions are separated to produce recycled plastics, materials for the construction industry and fuel to substitute coal.
The award-winning facility is already capable of delivering over 95% recycling and recovery of materials from end-of-life vehicles.
The Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston also explored the career opportunities offered by the waste management and recycling sector with a number of Axion’s 50-plus skilled engineers and scientists.
She reviewed Axion’s plans for increased investment in its own processing operations and to develop its process engineering, equipment manufacture and plant-building capabilities for external clients.
Kate, who is Shadow Spokesperson for Equalities, commented: "I was thrilled to see the tremendous progress Axion is making and especially pleased to meet some of their employees. These included both recent graduates who had work placements at Axion while studying for their degrees and who have returned to work for the company following their graduation, and students from Manchester and Birmingham Universities currently undertaking work placements. Axion and the staff both told me how much they value the relationship between the company and universities."
After the tour, Kate discussed work, education and training issues with Axion’s chemical engineers, marketing and training personnel and how to encourage people to work in the sector.
She commented: "Their work involved problem solving, and developing new ideas for recovering valuable raw materials from waste. I was struck by what an exciting and innovative working environment it is, and how important it is that we attract more good graduates and apprentices to work in the expanding resource recovery sector."
Axion’s Training Consultant Nichola Mundy suggested career guidance at an earlier age and changing perceptions to make the waste sector a positive choice would help recruitment. "Overcoming a lack of awareness of what this sector offers is vital if we are to inspire the next generation," she said.
Kate concluded: "Companies like Axion offer great career opportunities and are really helping to put our economy on the road to recovery."
Axion Director Roger Morton explained that in extending their plant-building capabilities to other clients, potential new employment opportunities could be created both at Axion and with local equipment manufacturers throughout the North West.
"Having recruited eight new graduates and 3D CAD designers to increase our engineering expertise, we’re also growing relationships with a range of manufacturers in the region supplying systems and components.
"Investment in our technological capabilities and engineering team is essential as we foresee a lot of growth in manufacturing returning to the UK," added Roger.
Axion Polymers is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients within the recycling and process industries on the practical development of new processing and collection methods.