Waste sector develops apprenticeship standard

Members of the waste and resources sector, including Cory Environmental, FCC Environment, Grundon, Veolia and Viridor, along with counterparts in the water sector, have developed new Trailblazer Apprenticeship standards to provide consistency across the industry.

The standards have been developed by the Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership and form part of the Trailblazer campaign, which was launched by government to encourage businesses to design standards for apprenticeships that develop the skills of their current and future workforce.

Standard details

Waste management companies develop apprenticeship standard

Falling under the ‘Energy & Utilities’ section, the Utilities Engineering Technician (Level 3) apprenticeship standards cover ‘maintenance practices, processes and procedures covering a range of waste and water systems, plant and equipment’, including electrical, mechanical, and instrumentation control and automation (ICA) roles, and should:

  • last between 24 and 48 months;
  • employ those that have between three and five GCSEs at grades A to C (including mathematics and English), or equivalent qualifications; and
  • result in the apprentice being eligible for Engineering Technician (or equivalent) professional registration (if the apprenticeship is passed).

Those offering Utilities Engineering Technician apprenticeships should also ensure that the placement provides apprentices with a range of skills, including the ability to:

  • carry out maintenance, inspections, condition monitoring and reporting on a range of waste and water systems and equipment;
  • follow and comply with industry health and safety and environmental working practices and regulations;
  • locate, diagnose and rectify faults on plant and equipment;
  • read, understand and interpret computer data and displays, and work to technical specifications and supporting documentation;
  • drive vehicles equipped with tools and materials to job sites; and
  • as required, undertake standby duties to provide 24-hour cover to remedy fault situations requiring diagnostic testing procedures.

The new standards will replace all the current apprenticeship frameworks ‘by the academic year 2017 to 2018’, but the partnership has stated it expects the standard to come into use in September of this year.

‘Ensuring apprentices have the skills needed to meet the business challenges that lie ahead’

Jan Newberry, Training Manager at South West Water and Chair of the water and waste management Trailblazer Apprenticeship Group, said he was “delighted” that the standards had been developed, adding that “all involved in the group have worked extremely hard to define these employer-led standards, which will ensure our apprentices have the right skill sets needed to meet the business challenges that lie ahead”.

Outgoing Skills Minister Nick Boles also welcomed the new standards, adding: “Since 2010, there have been 1.8 million apprenticeship starts and Energy & Utilities are leading by example in the development and delivery of high-quality apprenticeships that give people the chance of successful careers and help businesses get the skills they need to grow.”

The Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB) also hailed the announcement of the waste sector standards, with CEO Chris James commenting: “We welcome the news that Viridor, FCC, Cory, Veolia and Grundon will be working together to develop a Trailblazer Apprenticeship for the waste sector. It is critical that the industry gets behind the initiative to ensure that it is relevant, delivers what employers want and complies with the rigorous standards of the relevant government agencies.”

He also volunteered WAMITAB to become the independent assessment organisation for the new style apprenticeships, stating: “WAMITAB is well-placed to reshape not just the apprenticeship but the wider skills frameworks for the sector. We have over 25 years’ experience of working at the heart of the industry, shaping and developing a competent workforce by close partnership working with employers, training providers and the relevant government agencies.

“This new service as an independent assessment organisation will provide a valuable bridge between the Trailblazer Apprenticeship, employers and the requirements of the Environment Agency.”

Read the new standards for Utilities Engineering Technician (Level 3) apprenticeships or find out more about the apprenticeship standards in the film below.

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