Pilot program proves no waste for students and industry

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Five workers in the local waste management industry have earned the first nationally-accredited qualification in WA after participating in a successful pilot program run by Challenger TAFE.

The Certificate II in Waste Management qualification recognised the skills and experience the students had gained at one of Australia’s largest integrated waste management and environmental services businesses, Toxfree Solutions Ltd and came about through a collaboration between the College and Toxfree.

The new course was established in response to a high demand for well-trained waste management workers in WA. The students participating in the pilot program had access to an online learning environment coupled with weekly training sessions to learn the necessary theory whilst training practically on-site at Toxfree’s Kwinana location.

“It’s been great! This has really given us the chance to learn quickly in a supportive environment,” said Toxfree worker Ernest Thomas.

Challenger TAFE Lecturer, Troy Webster, found that running a pilot program was the best option given the lack of industry training to-date.

“Having never delivered waste management training to industry, we needed that level of real time feedback in order to refine the teaching and assessment tools,” he explained.

The success of the program was obvious when Troy awarded his students their certificates.

“The lads really did shine,” he said with obvious pride. “It’s been a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved.”

In developing the program, Troy tailored the training to suit a range of learning experiences and be site specific rather than classroom-based.

“When we weren’t sure of something, things became much clearer with a practical demonstration in the workplace,” said Ernest.

“I found the training so much more interesting than learning in a classroom.”

This real-life learning is what industry is keen to offer future students so they can get the necessary skills to enter the waste management business.

Toxfree’s Emergency Response and Training Manager, Toby Edmunds, was very pleased at the outcome of the pilot program.
“We’re really proud to be part of this,” said Toby.

“We were worried that students would lose their motivation, but they loved it and it suited everyone’s learning needs perfectly.”

The Toxfree workers were thrilled to be a part of such a rapid learning curve and are now looking forward to continuing their training with Challenger TAFE’s Certificate III in Waste Management.

The College offers traineeships and existing worker traineeships for these courses. They are available with flexible delivery and completing them is a great way to find a satisfying career in a high-growth field with many opportunities.

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