Ashley Monkman, operations assistant manager at Shredall Ltd, offers his career advice.
How would you sum up what you do on a typical day?
Typically my day consists of organising daily routes for up to 11 vehicles and 20 staff, including adding all ad hoc jobs to the bespoke shredding software we use, and uploading all information to handheld PDA scanners.
What would you say is the best bit about your day?
The best bit of the day is when all the work is loaded onto the system, optimised and uploaded to the scanners. I can then look at dealing with other operational issues such as routing for the days ahead, dealing with customer requests/issues and managing information reports for customers.
And what is the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is making sure all routes are as profitable as possible, whilst providing excellent customer service, being mindful of our environmental footprint and maintaining a happy workforce. In the last financial year Shredall saved 23.6 million kilowatts of energy, 98,000 trees, 17,311 cubic meters of landfill and 40.4 million gallons of water by maintaining its 100% recycling policy.
What made you decide to work in waste management?
The thrill of working in a fast paced environment, delivering an excellent service to customers and trying to be innovative in all separate areas of waste. It is also very interesting finding out about all different waste streams that most people wouldn’t even think about - for example clothing, shredded tapes, discs, hard drives and X-rays. There is also a large market for all different types of plastic, which vary based on colour, density and texture.
What is it that you love about the industry?
I love how everything has a use, what is waste to one person can always be turned into a different product by another person. There seems to be a different challenge every day.
What makes a good waste manager?
Someone who is very calm under pressure, level headed, and can cope well in a fast pace environment. They should have to have excellent customer service and people skills.
What qualifications are required for a career in waste management?
I have been working towards a qualification in first line management. I would suggest the personality of an individual is more important for a career in waste management as opposed to a specific qualification.
What career progression opportunities are there in your organisation?
Personally my career progression would be to move up to operations manager. At Shredall there are also opportunities for a slight change, whether it be office based, moving into sales, accounts, marketing or compliance, or a more manual job such as a HGV driver/operator.
What advice do you have for people about to embark on a career in waste management?
The main piece of advice I would give to anyone looking to embark on a career in waste management is always be open minded about waste. There is always another option, don’t see waste as ‘rubbish’!