The drive to realise ambitious recycling targets now means that waste management is a burgeoning industry offering a wealth of opportunity.
Back in 2000, the EU recycled just over 25% of its waste. In 2014 the EU had managed to increase this to 43%of waste that would have ended up in landfill.
By 2020 Northern Ireland’s target is over 60%and this is going to be a challenge to achieve.
Given such targets, we have seen the emergence of waste management organisations working together to achieve these targets.
Green or Circular Economy
There are different types of waste streams and, as a result, there are now many different organisations that operate in the waste sector or ‘Green or Circular Economy’ in Northern Ireland.
As these organisations grow, they create jobs that can offer some very rewarding opportunities to a wide pool of job seekers.
To understand these jobs, we need to understand the type of organisations in the Circular Economy:
- energy from waste
- materials recycling
- organic treatment such as composting
- specialists such as car dismantlers
- local authorities
- specialist c
The jobs available can vary from manual operators to drivers, technical or engineering to senior management.
Traditionally when most waste went to landfill the only roles available were for drivers and site management. Civil engineers were usually the highest professionally qualified person on site.
Diversification and variation
Nowadays you can find highly qualified mechanical and process engineers working in recycling plants. Chemists and environmental scientists too have successfully transitioned to successful careers in energy-to-waste sites.
As the industry grows, waste management jobs now include a wide variety of support, sales and finance roles. From budgetary control and financial management jobs to compliance and health and safety jobs, you will also add customer-facing jobs in sales and contracts management as well as back-office customer service jobs.
With the growth of the green economy comes increased demand for talent. The sector has responded by collaborating more with schools and education to sustain the skills pipeline.
As long as we produce waste there will be a need for people in the industry. As we understand more how to reuse waste there will be a need for innovators and highly skilled people to deliver these innovations.
The opportunities are there, so why wouldn’t you want to work in the green economy?