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CIWM warns of growing skills and labour shortage in UK recycling sector

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), has called on the UK Government to provide additional support to address the “rapidly expanding skills and labour shortage” in the waste and recycling sector and help grow the green economy.

In its latest report, Beyond Waste: Essential Skills for a Greener Tomorrow, CIWM estimates that existing policy and the more sustainable use of resources will create over 74,200 new roles in the waste and resources sector by 2030. This figure is set to rise to an aggregate of 240,000 new roles by 2040.

CIWM’s Professional Services Director, Katie Cockburn, said: “The transition to a greener, more circular economy is not optional if we are to save our planet and unlock the economic and social potential of green growth. The UK waste and recycling sector is central to achieving this aim but, without additional support, we’ll be unable to resource our services with the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. Government funding provided today will mean that the sector is able to unlock its potential as powerhouse of economic growth and green job creation. In doing so, we will ensure that our finite and valuable resources are managed sustainably for the benefit of generations to come.”

To support growth of the sector, which already employs somewhere in the region of 142,800 people across the UK, CIWM has asked Government to provide additional support in three key areas:

Increasing sector attractiveness

Research conducted indicates that the sector is not often seen as an attractive option for future careers. This is partly due to the perceptions of working with ‘waste’, but also because of a lack of understanding of what the sector delivers and the breadth of roles available. Current careers advice at all levels does not highlight the range of roles available or how important the sector is to delivering the UK’s environmental commitments and economic growth. Government support is required to champion the green credentials of the waste and recycling sector.

Policy acceleration and timeframes

Clear timeframes for policy implementation will provide much needed confidence and make the sector more investible. Accelerating policy development will also catalyse the transition to a greener economy and CIWM is therefore urging government to consider further investment in policy development and associated regulation.

Creating a Green Skills Fund

New funding must be unlocked to attract people to the sector. Creating a Green Skills Fund would allow government to prime the transition to a more circular economy. The fund could be used flexibly for apprenticeship provision or other approved qualifications as well as training, careers advice and regional hubs of excellence (such as NICER for circular economy).

A range of different methods were used to collate the necessary evidence, views, and informed estimates contained within the report. These approaches included a workforce survey, structured interviews, a wide-ranging literature review and workshop feedback sessions with members of CIWM.

Metro Rod Drainage and Plumbing Survey

With the current economic crisis resulting in higher prices and more of a squeeze on resources, FMs need to ensure that they have robust building and maintenance services in place to control costs and reduce the need for emergency repairs. When it comes to drainage and plumbing there are also the challenges of dealing with extreme weather, from droughts to flooding, the need to meet stringent regulations and to avoid causing environmental damage.

UK drainage specialist, Metro Rod, has launched a survey which explores the main areas of interest for FMs in maintaining drainage and plumbing, including how they currently assess their supply chains to ensure they’re working with partners that meet the highest possible standards and provide value for money.

The results will be published online so that you can see how you compare to others within the sector.

The survey should take just 5-10 minutes of your time, and as a thank you, you will be entered into a prize draw, where one lucky winner will be picked at random to receive a £100 Amazon voucher.

To take part click here.


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