The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) has announced a new program to build the skills and expertise of waste educators.
One of Australia’s few Federal Government accredited waste courses has undergone a revamp to meet present day industry standards and challenges.
Waste services continue to grow rapidly, with new talent comprising engineers and environmental science graduates joining the expanding workforce.
The waste sector employs around 50,000 people and contributes more than $50 billion to the Australian economy. While the bread and butter of waste – transportation – remains a central part of the industry, the sector as a whole needs to remain nimble if it is to meet the challenges of the future.
Based in Sydney, Academy Green Learning has for years offered Certificates III and IV in Waste Management. All Academy Green Learning trainers have extensive professional development not only in the vocational areas of waste, but also in the industry with an abundance of real-life experiences to draw from.
They maintain this currency by working closely with present-day employers who are seen to be leaders in the industry.
The Federal Government-accredited courses have continued to help upskill the waste sector, but this year have been updated to reflect the contemporary landscape.
Mani Kasmani, Training Assessor at Academy Green Learning, says the courses underwent an overhaul to reflect modern regulations and the international market, including China’s National Sword policy.
He says that for example, the new courses reflect a need to cover workplace health and safety (WHS) harmonisation, which has traditionally caused problems in organisations operating in multiple states and territories.
Mani says that some of the important elements of the WHS discussion outlined in the course is the need to meet Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements. Under the CoR, if you are named as a party in the chain of responsibility, and you exercise or are capable of exercising control or influence over any transport task, you have a responsibility to ensure you comply with the law.
“One of the things we cover is the CoR and traffic control, which is about reminding drivers and those unloading goods that they need to comply,” Mani says.
Mani adds that the importance of safe handling of goods in the logistics sector, coupled with the need for appropriate equipment such as personal protective equipment, makes the courses particularly pertinent. He adds that additional regulation around asbestos and WHS is also prompting a need for greater professional development.
Shadi Faraj, Group Training Manager at BINGO Industries, says that more than 100 staff at BINGO’s Eastern Creek, Alexandria and Auburn recycling centres have benefited from the Certificate III in Waste Management and Certificate III in Driving Operations.
Shadi, who manages registered training organisation courses at BINGO, says the Academy Green courses have attracted a diverse range of employees, from drivers to labourers and machine operators.
Drivers have undertaken the Driving Operations course in NSW and Victoria.
“Team members are learning more about the theory behind the practical application they do everyday. It’s knowing that the outcome of their work can affect the final product and the recycling economy and taking steps towards best practice,” Shadi explains.
Shadi says that for some BINGO employees this is their first foray into professional development.
“Many people have come to me and thanked me for putting them through the course. The further along the course they go, the more positive effect and impact it has had.”
He says CoR lessons have been of great relevance to BINGO employees, in addition to safe handling of waste.
“It relates back to standards and the importance of doing your due diligence when it comes to inspection,” Shadi says.
Shadi says that ultimately the courses are relevant to anyone in the waste sector and he is proud of BINGO’s commitment to professional development. He says that BINGO Industries will continue to undertake Academy Green courses as part of the company’s education and training.
“There’s a lot of customisation to suit our onsite requirements, which is great,” he says.
Ardil Domingo, General Manager at Academy Green Learning, says there has been an increasing focus from the waste sector on nationally certified training. Over the past few years, Academy Green Learning has had a noticeable increase in enquiries and, in turn, enrolments into these qualifications.
The courses are primarily offered in-person in NSW where Academy Green Learning is based but offered online in other states.
Ardil says the course is provided under the Federal Government’s traineeship program which offers employer incentives for eligible staff.
“There aren’t many nationally recognised qualifications apart from those offered by Academy Green Learning,” he says.
The Certificate III in Waste Management (CPP30719) is suited to those engaged in waste management who undertake collection and processing across government and the private sector.
Ardil says the Certificate III is relevant to someone new to the industry who could be involved in machine operations and waste.
The course consists of four core units and eight elective units with core units focusing on waste identification and segregation, identifying and responding to hazards and emergencies and following WHS procedures.
“One of the most important aspects of the course is the safety units. Recycling plants are operating big machines and there can be a number of hazards in the form of smell and health,” Ardil says.
Electives cover an array of topics such as complying with environment protection requirements, maintaining storage areas, operating compost processing plant, machinery and equipment and applying awareness of dangerous goods and hazardous materials requirements.
Ardil says that the Certificate IV is suited to someone of high-level experience and in a managerial or supervisory position.
“It covers anything from conducting audits and management plans to assisting with tenders.”
The Certificate IV in Waste Management covers those in waste collection, processing, minimisation and recovery operations in supervisory, leadership or sales roles. The waste operations being targeted are similar to that of the Certificate III.
Individuals operating in waste management specification roles apply solutions to a defined range of predictable and unpredictable problems and provide leadership and guidance to others.
The core units are implementing and applying sustainable work practices, applying knowledge of WHS laws in the workplace and establishing developing and monitoring teams. Similar to the Certificate III, identifying and responding to hazards and emergencies is also covered.
Elective units comprise implementing erosion and sediment control measures, implementing site safety plans, conducting waste audits and a range of other areas to suit the applicant.
Mani says that importantly, the courses are fun, encourage active participation and are an open platform to share knowledge and experience.
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Sydney has been ranked Australia’s most sustainable city in 2018, according to the Sustainable Cities Index from Arcadis.
The index ranks 100 cities on three pillars of sustainability which it defines as people, planet and profit.
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Australian cities were mostly located in the centre of the list, with Sydney and Canberra reaching 34th and 35th place. Brisbane was listed as the 44th most sustainable while Melbourne trailed behind at 56.
All of the cities on the list performed well on people focused measures, scoring high in health, education and digital enablement. Cities performed moderately well when it came to profit due to employment and ease of doing business.
However, each Australian city scored worse in the planet pillar, with greenhouse gas emissions and waste management common issues across all four cities.
London was ranked the most sustainable city, with eight of the top ten spots being European cities.
The 2018 Sustainable Cities Index emphasised the impact of how digital technologies have impacted on citizen’s experience of the city, but it found that technology is not yet able to mitigate things like traffic jams, unaffordable transport options, the absence of green space or the uncertainties caused by ageing infrastructure.
Arcadis Australian Cities Director Stephen Taylor said with no Australian city cracking the top 30, there is a need to improve the long-term sustainability, resilience and performance of our cities.
“Across our cities, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, we’ve seen a real shift over the last few years beyond green sustainability to social sustainability. Both government and private developments are increasingly focusing on how projects can better improve communities, including financial gains and community wellness,” Mr Taylor said.
“Despite the middle of the road rankings, the nation’s strong focus on developing integrated transit systems, addressing affordability and embracing sustainability in construction are all positive signs for future improvement across the three pillars,” he said.
More than $165,000 in funding has been secured by groups working to improve their local communities and environment from waste and water management company SUEZ.
The 2018 SUEZ Community Grants Program provides individual grants of up to $15,000 have been awarded to community groups, organisations and schools.
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Recycling education programs, youth sustainability networks, community resources sharing initiatives and sustainable gardens are some of the successful projects that have secured funding.
Since it began in 2014, the SUEZ Community Grants Program has provided more than $740,000 to Australian organisations contributing to stronger communities and healthier environments.
SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO Mark Venhoek said the company sees supporting grassroots organisations and projects as crucial in helping communities and their local environments thrive.
“Every year we are inundated with applications from right across the country, from Western Australia to the east coast, for an incredibly diverse range of sustainable projects,” Mr Venhoek said.
“It’s inspiring and heartening to see such dedication to building strong and connected communities, creating a groundswell for sustainable living practices and supporting the circular economy. We look forward to seeing how this year’s recipients put the grants to work to grow the impact of their initiatives.
“We are always blown away by the depth of what’s happening out there in our communities, and it’s a real privilege to be able to continue to support that important work,” he said.