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Women urged to forget outdated stereotypes and follow their dreams

08th March 2020

Women are being urged to consider a career in the waste and recycling industries on International Women's Day.

Businesses in the sector have traditionally attracted more men than women.

However innovations and evolution in the industry have helped to nurture a more diverse workforce in recent years.

And women who work for Viridor are determined that outdated stereotypes of waste and recycling do not put other women off from pursuing their dream.

Pip Crabbe, graduate environment health and safety manager, said: "I was apprehensive before starting work in an industry where women are poorly represented.

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"I was concerned my learned expectation of a male-dominated workplace would be the reality, where trying harder and having to have a thicker skin than my male counterparts would be a key criteria for the role.

"However, in reality, I have never been made to feel my gender is my key attribute or the greatest barrier to my success.

"I have been welcomed on to a level playing field at Viridor, where stereotypes give way to a more forward-looking workforce.

"Old-fashioned mindsets no longer represent the current workforce. Women should not disregard a career within waste based on outdated views."

Karen, a community benefits officer for Viridor, agreed.

She said: "I would reccommend women to absolutely go for it! Careers in this industry are wide and varied - and can be very rewarding.

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"Viridor is also a good company to work for, who hire good people to work for them."

Innovations aimed at making waste and recycling even better for the environment, as well as increased media coverage of the sector, has helped to attract young people and more women to pursue a career in the industry.

Khanittha Monthaklin and Rachael Lister are two such examples working for Viridor.

Khanittha is a graduate energy recovery facility engineer based at Runcorn, while Rachael is a mechanical engineering apprentice at the recycling and renewable energy centre in Glasgow.

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Khanittha said: "There's always something new to learn about the ERF, many challenging projects and experiences which I enjoy learning from.

"I really appreciate having my colleagues, fellow graduates, mentor and the orgnaisation to guide and support me when needed."

Rachael said: "Arriving on jobs really makes my brain work and makes me happy. There is a sense of job satisfaction at the end of the day.

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"Another thing I enjoy is how social the job is. Throughout the day I speak to many people and I will never not say hello.

"I would advise any woman considering a career in the industry to go for it. Waste and recycling industries are the new future.

"It is a great industry to work in, especially with the drive to reuse and recycle as much as we can.

"It isn't just a job, it's a job with a great purpose and you are making a difference. I am a believer that if something makes you happy then why would you let anything hold you back?"

Today (March 8, 2020) is International Women's Day - a worldwide event that calls for gender equality, a day that celebrates women's achievements all around the world in areas from political to social.

It started on February 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America organised a Women's Day in New York which saw 15,000 women march through the city demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours.

Toni Brook, head of quality, compliance and operations for Viridor, said: "International Women's Day is a day that challenges stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements."

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Rachael said: "International women's day stands up for women and makes people take notice.

"It is a day to celebrate being a woman and to be proud of everything that we can do."

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