London-based waste management company Powerday launched its Training Academy of Excellence today (17 January) at its Old Oak Sidings recycling facility in Willesden.
First mooted in March 2019, the academy is part of an initiative to deliver training and development opportunities to school-leavers from the areas around their principal locations, Willesden and Enfield, as well as current employees.
Liam Kearney, Powerday’s chief financial officer, said: “Our overall ambition is to have the best trained and motivated team in the industry. When people come to work for us, most of them stay until retirement.
“We want to encourage staff education and better employee relations, and reduce churn across the business, which we don’t really have anyway.”
Powerday has partnered with training providers M.I.T Skills and Geason, each of whom will deliver training programmes that form part of the bespoke Powerday Management Training Programmes.
M.I.T Skills’ Katie Osborne said: “We want to make sure all apprentices are growing and developing, and that they have an amazing platform to move forward in Powerday.”
“I strongly believe in the importance of supporting and developing London’s communities”
The academy is one of several Powerday projects focused on providing for London’s young and disadvantaged. These have previously included working with the BBC’s DIY SOS to open a boxing academy for Dale Youth in 2018 in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Mick Crossan, the company’s owner and chairman, said: “I strongly believe in the importance of supporting and developing London’s communities, a standpoint shared by the whole management team at Powerday.”
With a spend of £78,000 on training anticipated across the next 18 months, Powerday says it currently has 24% of its office-based employees enrolled in some form of education.
There are six apprentices already enrolled in the academy, all of whom are involved in administration.
The company also intends to train apprentices in its technical and financial departments.
The latest of these is 17-year-old Nicholas Phillips, a local from Ladbroke Grove, who says he enrolled because he did not like sixth form.
Currently undertaking a business administration apprenticeship, he hopes one day to be an accountant.
Mr Kearney said: “We take pride in supporting each of the communities we work in. We want people to take advantage of the great opportunities that lie within our sector and support those looking to start or build a career with us.
“We have opportunities in finance, sales, customer service, transport and health and safety, and hope those who enrol will enjoy long, successful careers within our business.”
Another current student is 41-year-old Bradley Collins, general manager of the transport and customer service team, who has worked at the company since 2017.
He is studying on a senior operations management course and hopes to join the board of directors at Powerday in the future.
Mr Collins was part of a four-man Powerday team that won the Masters of Waste 2019 golf tournament (see letsrecycle.com story).
Construction and demolition
Powerday was founded in 1978 and has 240 employees across its four sites in Enfield, Brixton, Wimbledon and Willesden.
It has a permit to deal with two million tonnes a year of predominantly construction and demolition waste and says it handles a high proportion of the sector’s waste in London.
The company claims to divert 100% of the non-hazardous construction waste it handles from landfill, with about 25 to 30% turned into refuse derived fuel (RDF) for export and the domestic market.
This RDF is exported to Germany by road and to Sweden and Greece in shipping containers.
In the UK, the RDF is taken by lorry to generate electricity at energy from waste (EfW) facilities within 20 miles of Willesden.
Powerday’s main depot, where many of the scheme’s trainees will be based, is the 7.8-acre Old Oak Sidings facility in Willesden. It has a licence to process 1.6 million tonnes of waste annually.