New process to show waste competency

A new scheme for operators of waste management facilities to show technical competence has been approved by the Environment Department (DEFRA) and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Waste plant operators need to show technical competency to obtain an environmental permit and manage waste operations.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board designed the system to cater for different risk levels and encourage quicker and wider take-up.1 High-risk facilities will still need a full NVQ, or certificate of technical competency. But medium-risk operations can complete either six NVQ units or a new vocationally related qualification (VRQ) - a taught course and assessment qualification.

Candidates taking the VRQ do not have to be observed on-site, meaning staff can be trained before a facility comes into operation and those looking to transfer into waste management from other industries can be trained before moving. For low-risk sites, options include a short course with a final test at the end or four NVQ units.

Those deemed competent will have to show ‘continuing competence’ by updating their knowledge about subjects specified in a syllabus set every two years by a cross-industry working group.

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