Read the summary of CIWM’s report Beyond Waste: Essential Skills for a Greener Tomorrow right now and dive into the insights it offers.
In June 2021, CIWM’s (the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) President (2021-2022), Dr Adam Read, launched the Institution’s Skills for the Future report, which outlined the key skills needed by the waste and resources sector (the sector) as it approached a decade of major challenge and change, and became more circular in its approach.
The report was a catalyst for action, with CIWM recognising that its members needed support to prepare for the future (from policy reforms and reporting needs to new infrastructure and services), and CIWM’s voice was needed to advocate for this change and provide the sector with appropriate support.
Dr Adam Read, Immediate Past President and Trustee, CIWM Chief External Affairs and Sustainability Officer, SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK, commented: “Many of us working in the sector recognise the risks and opportunities that face our colleagues across the sector, and specifically for the members of CIWM, from a sector in rapid transition.
As part of this report, we have engaged members and non-members alike from all aspects of the sector to share their experience and expertise.
“As part of this report, we have engaged members and non-members alike from all aspects of the sector to share their experience and expertise with this timely contribution to an ongoing and critical government work programme.”
Through Dr Adam Read, CIWM was invited to represent the sector on the UK Government’s Green Jobs Delivery Group. Focused on sectors and skills needed primarily in England, the delivery group is the central forum through which government, industry and other key stakeholders are working together to ensure that the UK has the workforce needed to deliver a green industrial revolution based on the Net Zero Strategy (NZS) and the 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) set out by government.
Each sector was tasked with providing data and insight about their own expected transitions and skills demands (scale and type) to support future government policy decisions which would enable their targets to be hit and a green transition to be effectively delivered.
Key themes to be assessed in these reports were: contribution to environmental goals; labour market transition impacts; and importance to UK economy. These themes drove five key questions (Figure 1), which all the identified sectors (waste and resources included) must answer.
A range of different approaches have been used to collate the necessary evidence, views, and informed estimates from the sector to be able to answer the five key questions and map the transition our sector will need to undertake in the future. These approaches have included a workforce survey, structured interviews, a wide-ranging literature review and workshop feedback sessions with members of CIWM.
Understanding the current skills position and future skills needs of the people within our sector is central to achieving successful and sustainable growth.
The geographical scope of this research has been aligned with the CIWM regions and nations where we have Centres (UK and Ireland). As such, skills requirements are included for all nations, but the sector job estimates we propose to 2040 focus on the UK only due to the differing policy environment within Ireland. This report presents the highlights from the research; the full report and appendices are available on the CIWM website.
Commenting on the report, Katie Cockburn, Professional Services Director, CIWM, said: “Understanding the current skills position and future skills needs of the people within our sector is central to achieving successful and sustainable growth not just for our sector, but for our whole economy.
“If we can’t resource our services with the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, then the risks are both commercial and environmental. We have an opportunity to be the sector that powers the circular economy, influencing design and manufacturing decisions, at the same time as maximising resource efficiency and material reuse.”