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Waste Management – Stepping up to learning

Case Study

New Zealand Diversity Awards, 2017
Diversity Awards Category

Waste Management – Stepping up to learning

The cultural challenge

Waste Management has a high number of Pasifika and migrant employees, many who have English as a second language and relatively few qualifications. It wanted to build the communication skills and confidence of this level of its workforce and provide a career pathway, and to ensure its staff understand safety procedures in what is a high-risk industry.

Strategies for success
  • The company developed a workplace literacy and numeracy programme called “Skills First”, partnering with training provider Upskills.
  • Tutors visited Waste Management depots to understand the literacy and numeracy demands of each role and each site.
  • A key component is the chance to do a project exploring solutions to a work-related issue, allowing participants to apply their newly developed skills and learning in a real world context.
  • Successful projects are celebrated at monthly management meetings and via the online staff portal, and when formal training sessions come to an end, course participants, their managers, tutors and senior staff come together for a graduation ceremony.
Results and benefits
  • In the first year 100 staff took part and Waste Management plans to have another 75 employees complete the Skills First initiative this year.
  • The programme has opened up new learning and career opportunities – 22 per cent of participants are completing a further training course and 15 per cent of the 2016 course have gone on to a next step qualification.
  • A range of projects have been completed at different sites as part of the Skills First programme, including new standard of practice training documents, making stationery ordering easier for staff and building a new metal caddy toolbox that can fit between truck bays at one of Waste Management’s workshops
  • More about Waste Management New Zealand

    Waste Management NZ holds local government contracts for kerbside collection and commercial and general public refuse collection, and works on joint venture projects with local government and other partners. It has more than 1200 staff at various sized sites throughout New Zealand, from Kaikohe to Dunedin.

“We want our employers to know we will invest in their present and their future, and for that message to spread out into the community.”

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