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Viridor leads recycling and waste industry drive to promote Apprenticeships

Viridor Waste Management, one of the UK's leading recycling and waste management companies is working with Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) to promote the benefits of Apprenticeships in the growing recycling and waste sector during Apprenticeship Week 25-29 February.

Driven by the Learning and Skills Council and the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network, the week is about raising the profile of Apprenticeship schemes and encouraging more employers to take note of the key role Apprenticeships play in today's competitive economy.

Viridor believes this is the time to formalise the existing schemes it currently runs and is evidently on the right track with the Government announcement last month supporting the funding of Apprenticeships and work based management training courses.

Simon Catford, HR director at Viridor said; “The continued expansion of recycling and reclamation facilities to help local authorities meet their LATS (landfill allowance trading scheme) diversion targets is increasing the pressure to meet ever-growing labour demands in the waste industry. The use of foreign or European Union nationals to meet these demands is only a short term fix and may not be sustainable in the long term.”

The government's Apprenticeship review 'World-class Apprenticeships: Unlocking Talent, Building Skills for All' published on 28 January 2008 outlined the governments strategy and commitment for the future of Apprenticeships in England. This includes ensuring Apprenticeships become a mainstream option for 16-18 year olds as well as plans to ensure an Apprenticeship place is available for all suitably qualified young people by 2013 and a significant growth in Apprenticeships for older learners.

Viridor Waste Management is keen to use this period of awareness to showcase the range of career opportunities within its organisation and the waste and recycling sector as a whole to provide recognised training opportunities.

Simon added; “The sector as a whole is keen to attract young people into what is now one of the most front-line, high profile industries. Young people are more aware of the environment with terms such as carbon footprint and recycling in daily use and apprenticeships can help harness that enthusiasm and develop it into a sustainable career path.”

Viridor is working with Energy & Utility Skills, the Sector Skills Council for the waste industry, and local colleges to develop Apprenticeships specific to the waste industry.

Helen White, Apprenticeship Manager at EU Skills said; “Apprentices learn while they work, so their knowledge is up-to-date and because their training is on the job, the practical skills they gain are the ones that are right for the business. They lead to nationally recognised qualifications – National Vocational Qualifications/Scottish Vocational Qualifications – which demonstrate that the standard of work expected in the sector has been met.

“Apprenticeships are indeed an ideal training and recruitment tool that can be used to attract young people to the sector and help balance the age profile. Used by over 130,000 employers, Apprenticeships help businesses to identify managers of the future and develop a sustainable workforce where competent individuals are becoming increasingly difficult to recruit.”

To find out more information on Energy & Utility Skills, the Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water industries, Apprenticeship development or further information on the Apprenticeships that are on offer in your sector and the cost and benefits to your business, contact Energy & Utility Skills on 0845 077 9922 or visit www.euskills.co.uk

Viridor Waste Management is among the UK's leading recycling and waste management companies. It is owned by the Pennon Group, a major UK plc with assets of over £2.3 billion.

Each year Viridor manages over nine million tonnes of wastes and recycles over a million tonnes of material. It operates 73 household waste recycling sites (HWRSs), 13 materials recycling facilities (MRFs), and over 230 facilities across the UK, processing large volumes of municipal, commercial and industrial wastes.

Viridor was the first waste management company in the UK to adopt a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS) across its entire business, gaining accreditation to ISO 14001, the highest international standard, at all its major operational centres, and is now progressing to the adoption of an Integrated Management System accredited to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety) standards.

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