Keywords: waste management workforce, workforce risks, recycling, UK, United Kingdom, Australia, professional accreditation, waste treatment, skilled workforce, professional recognition, waste managers, employee skills
Sourcing a future waste management workforce: a comparison of workforce risks and professional accreditation between Queensland and the UK
The rate of economic growth and policy development within the waste and recycling sector is not only bringing about rapid evolution in the range of available waste treatment technologies but also adding to the complexity of the waste streams requiring treatment as opposed to disposal. As such, there is a need for a suitably skilled workforce in order to both maintain current services and further develop this critical sector. This paper provides a brief overview of the critical factors currently impacting workforce availability to the waste and recycling sectors within the UK and Queensland, Australia. The paper also discusses the role of industry accreditation of waste management professionals and its role in sourcing a suitable skilled workforce, highlighting the different approaches between the UK and Queensland, including the analysis of the trends in individual professional memberships between the two countries. The paper concludes with discussion around the UK model of the professional recognition of waste managers and if such an approach may be applicable to Queensland in order to increase the attractiveness of the industry to potential employees and provide an appropriately skilled workforce during a time of unprecedented labour demand.