As is the case for the waste and resources sector as a whole, within the healthcare waste sector, there are growing efforts to adopt a more circular approach to the manner in which resources are managed.
A crucial aspect of this is about providing opportunities and training for current and future stakeholders in the sector. There are two initiatives that I wanted to highlight here:
First is an EU funded project to develop an EU standardised approach to Vocational Qualifications in Healthcare Waste Management (euhcwm-leaflet-3-uk). The project is led by Scott Crossett from the Scotland-based International Centre for the Environment, Resource Management & Sustainability Ltd (ICERMS), and involved a number of organisations from across the EU. The final dissemination event will take place in November, in Birmingham (UK) euhcwm-final-conference-agenda-draft
Second, is an initiative that relates to providing students with work opportunities. I co-ordinate a group called the Healthcare Waste and Resources Research Group, which is hosted by the University of Northampton. The Group aims to provide an evidence base for practice across the sector. One of the areas of focus for this year has been facilitating opportunities for students to gain some real world experience. This is being done through engaging with organisations to provide work shadowing. Thus far, two organisations have signed up to the initiative: Bywaters and Grundon. A student will spend two days with each company, work shadowing their staff and learning about the full operation of the business, including the operations, customer relations, etc. It provides a fantastic win-win opportunity both for the students, as well as for the company. There is potential to develop this into a longer time spent with the organisation through some funding that is available. If there are other companies that might be interested, please feel free to get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initiatives such as the above (and there are many, many others), will serve to build the capacity and competencies of future stakeholders in the sector and help in enhancing standards and practice, and ensuring that resources are managed more sustainably.