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Work-ready: Life after uni on Viridor’s graduate scheme

07th October 2019

Viridor today welcomed a fresh intake of candidates for its 2020 Graduate Programme, with the aim of attracting and developing new talent in the waste management and green energy industry.

The new roles will include opportunities for graduates in business areas, including commercial, central functions, placements within the company’s recycling and energy from waste business areas, sustainability and more.

In the last four years, Viridor has significantly expanded its graduate programme. Successful candidates will work as part of national teams in a diverse environment, with opportunities for travel and work placements throughout the business.

Twenty-two-year-old Environmental Sciences Graduate, Pip Crabbe, is one of nine women to form a team of 24 graduates selected for Viridor’s graduate programme.

“I’ve always had an interest in biology and human anatomy, which led me to consider a career in forensic science and pathology from quite an early age. However, as I graduated through secondary school into college, I found I had a real interest in environmental sciences,” said Pip, who is Viridor’s Graduate Environmental Health and Safety Manager. “When an opportunity to join a graduate scheme with travel opportunities arose, I applied straight away.”

In an age where talent shortages need to be addressed to achieve a business’ long-term goals, Viridor, the largest UK-owned recycling company, is working hard to create opportunities to attract the right skills to the business.

Viridor’s graduate programme is a work-based training programme that allows recent graduates to gain practical experience within the company, giving them a head-start into the world of work. The programme falls under Viridor’s parent company Pennon Group. It runs for two years and once completed, the aim is that those on the programme will continue working for the company in their chosen field.

Pip said: “I felt it was important to follow a career which aligns with my passion for sustainability, so I decided to develop my knowledge of environmental systems by studying Environmental Science at University. This gave me an appreciation of the importance of the waste management sector, making a career in this industry a natural choice for me.”

Pennon’s Group Emerging Talent Lead Julie Herd, said “Our people are our greatest resource so investing in both the current and next generation is important to ensure our industry can continue to develop. We are committed to developing a talent pipeline which aims to bring diversity, innovation and new skills into our business.

“We run programmes that are specific to our different functions, as well as a core management trainee scheme, and so the exposure to different business areas ensures that individuals gain a well-rounded experience of the business.”

Pip said: “My plan after university involved joining a graduate scheme where I could continue my professional development by learning more about the different aspects of the waste management industry, while benefitting from additional qualifications and training.

“Viridor’s ongoing investment in graduates attracted me towards their two-year Functional-Specific Scheme, as continuous improvement and upskilling of staff appeared to be higher on the agenda compared to other companies."

The function-specific scheme attracts talent in line with business area and skills set requirements. It allows graduates to develop their career and skills in line with a trained discipline.

The Management Trainee Scheme, which is also part of the graduate programme, is for graduates who are seeking a career in management and leadership. It consists of four 6-month rotational placements across the business, and incorporates graduate skills or preferences with wider exposure to the business.

Viridor provides opportunities for people who share its passion for caring about the environment and the world’s resources, and who want to contribute to finding and delivering solutions.

Pip said: “Living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle has always been a priority for me. I try to produce as minimal waste as possible, buy locally sourced food, wear clothes made with responsibly sourced materials and ensure I reuse or recycle as much as I can. I’m glad that I am a part of a company that has values which are aligned with mine.

“Since joining Ardley Energy Recovery Facility, my role has mostly focussed around supporting site management. A large part of my role as an Environmental Health and Safety Graduate involves learning about the statutory and regulatory requirements each site must comply with.

"Understanding the reporting and monitoring requirements under the site’s environmental permit forms an important part of the job and supporting the discharge of permit conditions is something I enjoy doing.”

As part of the graduate programme and to support their own development, existing or previous graduates become ambassadors of the programme by supporting events for future graduates joining the business. This could be through helping with site visits, communicating information about business processes and procedures, as well as sharing their experiences of being a graduate.

Pip said: “If there are graduates out there who are interested in following this path I’d encourage them to go for it. The waste industry is fast-evolving with technological innovation and advancements in process and procedures, driving new opportunities that didn’t exist 15 years ago.

“Getting a foot in the door at an early age allows you to experience these new opportunities as they develop and makes you a valuable member of any workplace. Do not be discouraged from applying for these sought-after roles, especially as a graduate. Because competency is not only defined by your qualifications and technical skills, employers also value the right attitude and personality.”


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