As waste management company, busineswaste.co.uk, called for more “green degrees” to give us more “graduates with the qualifications to help drag the UK into a sustainable future”, a Professor Margaret Bates responded by telling CIWM that this statement was both “encouraging and depressing”.
Businesswaste says it is finding it hard to recruit suitably qualified graduates. “The UK is at a crucial point in its efforts to cut back on waste,” said spokesperson Mark Hall, “But there are pitifully few young people emerging from our colleges with suitable qualifications.”
It acknowledges the efforts of the educational institutions to educate on on man-made climate change, for example, but days they are lacking in educating on waste and pollution at the grass-roots level. “Most academic efforts on climate change are being pushed toward global solutions,” says Hall, “but, we still need people with the skills to deal with policy and solutions at national and local levels.”
Making The Most Of The Opportunities
Professor of sustainable waste management at the University of Northampton – and the incoming Junior Vice President of CIWM – Margaret Bates, responded exclusively to CIWM by saying: “It is encouraging to see that another business in the waste and resources sector has identified the need for graduates with the necessary skills to move us to a sustainable, and circular, economy. However it is of concern that the way that the university sector has responded to the challenge of producing graduates ‘with the knowledge in how to deal with waste and pollution at the grass-roots level’ , in response to industry demand is still not widespread and that some businesses are not effectively utilizing the opportunities that university and student engagement offer them.
“It is all very well calling for such degrees but we need the support of industry, and the industry also needs to support their employees on the ground too. They need to have the financial capability and commitment to support their employees. There are many well placed people within industry who would, with support of their employers, gladly undertake degrees extending their skills and adding to their value.
“We are happy to work with any waste companies and they should realise the potential in the next generation by fostering the talent which is currently drawn to what they perceive as more glamorous career options.
“We all know, because we work in it, that the waste and resource sector is an exciting and rewarding career with fantastic opportunities. Unfortunately so far, we appear to have failed to get that enthusiasm and message across to the young people. Now is the time for us to work together to encourage school leavers, and others, to make a career in the waste and resource management sector.”
You can read more of Margaret’s thoughts on this in the next issue of the CIWM Journal