A new programme by CIWM and Veolia equips our sector’s managers with the skills they need for the future, from sustainability and waste management to finance and health and safety.
A well-trained workforce is a happy workforce, and their organisation is often more successful too. Knowledge and expertise boosts confidence and, in turn, morale.
Two of the industry’s key players, Veolia and CIWM, have joined forces to put those principles into practice. The waste and recycling giant, which employs well over 13,000 people in the UK and operates 300-plus sites, is harnessing CIWM’s expertise to pioneer a new project that will be keenly watched by others as it progresses.
It’s called the Veolia Operational Excellence Manager Programme and it got underway a few weeks ago, with an inaugural induction session held at the firm’s Kingswood House HQ in Cannock.
The aim of the scheme is to strengthen Veolia’s managerial skills base, not only supporting employees’ career progression, but helping them to make colleagues more resilient and motivated too.
Managers on the programme will be guided on technical aspects of their jobs, and on soft skills: time management, personal effectiveness and running a team, plus commercial awareness, and compliance.
Veolia had been looking for an opportunity to develop its operational managers on the waste side of the business, and it approached CIWM to see what could be done… The individuals taking part have been recommended by senior people at Veolia, who want to grow and nurture their talent.
The first programme, which runs for nine months, followed by a three-month work-based project, will focus on Veolia’s resource and waste management activities, covering themes such as waste hierarchy, waste legislation, site-based environmental awareness, and waste duty of care. Contract management, corporate social responsibility and health and safety are also on the agenda.
It has been put together with a view to using it as a flagship that can be tailored to managers in the company’s other core services: energy and water.
Veolia’s portfolio in the UK includes running energy-from-waste facilities, hazardous waste facilities, wood and composting sites, landfill sites, and recycling operations.
Nathan Cookson, CIWM’s head of learning and development, is working on the newly launched project with Helen Wells, qualifications development manager at CIWM.
Cookson says: ‘The programme is staggered, with two cohorts of 15 managers. The first cohort began in September, and the second will get going next February.
‘Veolia had been looking for an opportunity to develop its operational managers on the waste side of the business, and it approached CIWM to see what could be done.
‘The individuals taking part have been recommended by senior people at Veolia, who want to grow and nurture their talent. All are either newly appointed operational managers, or have the potential to be one. People in the first cohort are from a wide range of Veolia UK sites and are from diverse backgrounds too.’
How much time will managers need to commit to the scheme?
It has been carefully thought out and shaped to cover all kinds of learning methods. In total, it adds up to 16 days over the the 12-month programme, including graduation. That includes 10 days of face-to-face learning and site visits; virtual learning and e-learning take up 22.5 and 16 hours, respectively; and then there are three hours’ worth of coaching, and four hours of mentoring.
It means people taking part can get the chance to see how things are done on sites other than those where they are based and – importantly – network with colleagues.
Another aspect is to enable managers to take a close look at themselves, such as what they do, and how others see them – their ‘personal brand’. Questions such as ‘What motivates you?’ ‘What value do you bring?’ ‘What impact do you make?’ and ‘What are your strengths, talents and skills?’ are posed, alongside others such as ‘What’s the experience people have of you?’ The mantra that managers are urged to adopt is ‘everything you do suggests something’, stressing the importance of workplace communication, conflict management and the art of influencing.
It all dovetails with CIWM’s mission and reflects the competencies set out in the newly developed CIWM Competence Framework. As well as helping managers become better at their jobs, the programme offers the opportunity for professional recognition and accreditation. Wells says: ‘Once participants complete the programme, they will be able to upgrade to a professional membership and can work towards becoming Chartered.’
Joining forces with CIWM allows participants to gain professional membership that will also assist them in gaining complementary skills that they can pass on to motivate their teams – so it is already proving to be a mutually beneficial partnership
Affiliate membership gives access to a range of benefits, including CIWM’s knowledge centre, mentoring platform, weekly newsletters, events and webinars.
CIWM’s professional services director, Katie Cockburn, says: ‘One of our key objectives is to expand this to other companies. Veolia is trailblazing here in creating its own operational excellence programme. We’re all keen to share the idea with other parts of the sector.’
Richard Hulland, Veolia UK and Ireland, chief risk and assurance officer, whose vision and collaboration with Cockburn led to this development adds: ‘Our operational excellence manager programme represents a critical investment in training and development for the next generation of senior leaders, providing them with the core technical and individual skills to be great managers now and enable them to fulfil their potential.
‘This programme includes health and safety, sustainability, waste management, financial and contractual training, as well as personal leadership skills to develop and motivate teams.
‘Joining forces with CIWM allows participants to gain professional membership that will also assist them in gaining complementary skills that they can pass on to motivate their teams – so it is already proving to be a mutually beneficial partnership,’ he says.
This is echoed by Sarah Poulter, CIWM’s CEO: ‘This partnership between CIWM and Veolia is important to us and the sector. We’re delighted to be supporting Veolia on its operational excellence programme that will upskill 30 managers and help them to become future leaders.’
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