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Viridor has more than quadrupled its graduate intake with the development of a new scheme designed to attract and retain top talent into the waste sector.
The company has welcomed nearly 30 graduates across the new Functional Specialist Programme and existing Graduate Management Trainee Scheme, which matches graduates to areas of business growth.
Jennie Godfrey, Group Head of Talent at Viridor’s parent company, Pennon, said: “Our sector needs to recruit a massive 40% more people than it currently employs by 2027 if it is to fill the expected skills gap.
“We have taken specialised roles, such as in environmental health and safety, to develop future leaders in this space.”
The scheme has given graduates the opportunity to visit a host of Viridor sites to increase their understanding the business and its specialist facilities across the UK.
Philippa Crabbe, Graduate Environmental Health and Safety Manager, said: “I am enjoying getting involved and watching the Avonmouth Energy Recovery Facility development evolve through the different stages of construction.
“I have visited many facilities across the country and a highlight has been visiting the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) centre in Scotland.”
Sughra Akbar, Graduate Management Trainee, said: “The graduate scheme is proving to be a great learning experience. During my first rotation in sales and collections, I even shadowed the drivers and exploring the collection services first hand.
“I’m really enjoying my current rotation in procurement, leading on aspects of the sustainable procurement project, initially developed by a previous graduate who is now in a leadership role within the team.”
Asim Rahman, Engineering and Maintenance Graduate, said: “I am involved with the WorkSmart programme at the Rochester Plastics Recycling Facility, which is all about applying the principles of lean engineering to minimise waste and optimise plant performance while making the plant even safer where possible.
“A big thank you to the engineering operations team for their time and support which has made settling in very easy.”
Kate Clemens, Group Recruitment Manager, said: “We are thrilled with the impact the graduates are already having on the business. Each graduate has a development and progression route mapped where they can make a real impact. The project has been so successful that we plan to extend it across the Pennon Group, which includes Viridor and South West Water.
“At our assessment days, interviewees had the opportunity to tour a waste management facility, such as our award-winning Ardley Energy Recovery Facility, to help them truly engage with what we do and who we are as a company.
“The process begins from the moment our graduates accept their programme offer, including using social media to keep in touch, provide information, including the involvement of our senior managers. This leads in to their two-week induction programme when they start in the business.
“We individually assign each graduate with a senior level mentor, starting in an active role and learning from our most experienced colleagues.
“Importantly, we want our graduates to be industry and STEM ambassadors themselves and are given the opportunity to engage with young people within our educational programme.”
The success of the scheme, which is open from 1 April to June 1, means the company has ambitious plans for growth, with a further 30 more graduates planned to be recruited in 2019.