New apprenticeship for metals recycling launched
Sir Gerry Berragan, Chief Executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships, has launched the first apprenticeship focusing specifically on the metals recycling industry.
The Metal Recycling General Operative (MRGO) is a level 2 apprenticeship for employees of any age. A 12 to 18 month assessment, it covers a range of areas within the £7 billion UK metals recycling industry and explores the problems that those working in the field face.
The metals recycling industry plays an important role in the circular economy, providing secondary raw material, preserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent in metals production. As the OECD predicts world resource use will double by 2060, retaining industry knowledge and standards by successfully training the next generation is increasingly important.
The official launch of the apprenticeship, created by the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), was held at scrap metal recyclers EMR in Willesden. Antonia Grey, Public Affairs and Communication Manager at BMRA, said: “The apprenticeship was developed because we recognised the need for sector-specific qualifications, not only to bring new talent into the industry but also to provide a career path for those working in the sector. The scheme will also allow experienced employees in different areas to pass on valuable knowledge, which is often lost if they leave.
“We see the apprenticeship as a first step in promoting the metals recycling sector as a STEM employer. We will look to work with organisations that promote metals recycling and STEM, with myself and fellow BMRA representatives becoming STEM ambassadors.”
The pilot programme had apprentices from a range of recycling companies such as S.Sackers, Recycled Products and Recycling Lives. Following its success, metal recycling apprentices up and down the country can now work in a company of any size, learning how to fill an operative role within a metal recycling yard. This includes understanding environmental policy, working with current legislation, and learning how to accept hazardous and non-hazardous materials.
After completing the apprenticeship, candidates will also be encouraged to join Young British Metals Recyclers, which is the BMRA’s initiative for those in the industry under the age of 35.
Susie Burrage, BMRA President added: “The government apprenticeship levy gives small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to train employees in skills that are relevant to metals recycling. By supporting the industry from the ground up and giving young people the necessary training in key business areas, we hope that we can plug the skills gap and keep metals recycling at the forefront of the circular economy.”
The UK metal recycling industry is the leading contributor to the UK’s achievement of circular economy targets in EU Directives set out in May. It is so efficient at recovering metal from end-of-life products that more is now recovered than can be consumed domestically, which has led to around 80 per cent of all UK waste metal being exported. In 2017 alone, the UK exported 9 million tonnes of recovered iron and steel and 800,000 tonnes of other, non-ferrous metal.
The apprenticeship will hopefully ensure that the metal recycling industry contains to expand with a new generation. The scheme is expected to be rolled out to subsequent cohorts from March next year.
You can find out more about the apprenticeship on the Institute for Apprenticeships website.