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New business model requires new skills

4th November 2014 Posted by

In my last blog, I talked about the way that the ‘waste industry’ was changing. This change is particularly apparent in the new types of jobs we now have to recruit for at SITA UK. The number of these new roles has steadily increased over the last three to four years, but it is now really gathering pace.

So, what are these new jobs? The first type of new roles is similar to those you would find in a manufacturing or processing industry.

We no longer view the material we handle as waste and, instead, consider it a resource that can be used to make new products.

For example, this might include shredding waste wood to produce biomass fuel, or drying commercial waste material to produce Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), both of which can be used in the manufacturing process. In producing these sustainable ‘alternative fuels’, the processes we use may differ in complexity but they all have one thing in common – there is a ‘production line’ of some sort, with an input of a raw material (in this case waste), a number of processes carried out by machinery and employees, and an output at the end for sale onto a third party.

As such, this process requires employees with different skills and experience than those historically found within SITA UK and indeed the wider industry, we have had to seek these skills and experience in new and different ways. This has certainly presented a number of challenges to my HR team.

The first challenge is how, and where, to find these individuals and the second challenge, once we’ve found them, is to convince them that SITA UK does more than collect the waste from their house or run a landfill – and that the challenges of the production process (such as the lack of a homogenous input) can offer them a challenging and regarding future career.

People who have joined us in these new capacities have said, on many occasions, that they just didn’t realise that SITA UK “did this type of thing” and therefore didn’t even think about us as a potential employer. We are getting better at attracting these individuals and, to improve what we do, we have recently recruited a new member to the SITA UK resourcing team who has many years of experience in recruiting in this field.

The second type of job that is new to our industry, which really brings home for me the change we’re going through, are those in shipping. Once we have made the alternative fuels, much of the off take market is abroad and we are now sending these products to places such as Holland, Latvia and Sweden. We are even looking further afield than Europe for off take markets and now have a team headed up by an employee with naval qualifications and the experience to manage this task. Unheard of just four years ago!

Change is a constant word here at SITA UK, and the above just scratches the surface of what we are currently up to.

Kevan Sproul, Human Resources Director, SITA UK

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