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Pursuing a career in the Waste Management industry | Q&A with Ashleigh

As National Apprentice Week comes to and end, we sat down with Ashleigh, our Operations Manager to ask some questions about getting started in the Waste Management Industry...

Q. So, tell me a little about your role here at J&B Recycling.

A. I’m the Operations Manager, which means I oversee the entirety of the recycling plant operations and oversee the internal systems and processes to ensure all operations run smoothly. However, my role does not end there, I also help across all of the J&B departments wherever I may be needed!

Q. Tell me about your time at J&B Recycling. Did you start as an Operations Manager.

A. I first started at J&B Recycling as an Office Junior back in September 2004, which consisted of helping around the office with different admin jobs. I then started as a Weighbridge Operator, ensuring that all loads coming in and out of the site were weighed correctly. I then moved to the transport department as a Transport Coordinator, managing and allocating drivers work to ensure that they are working effectively and efficiently.

I then landed my first managerial role and started my new position as the Facilities Manager, where I oversaw the four weighbridges, ensuring that they were maintained, calibrated, and all materials in and out of the site were recorded accurately as per industry legislation. I was then promoted to a Quality and Environmental Manager, which gave me bigger and more important responsibilities and led to my current position as the Operations Manager, which I started in 2017!

After gaining experience in all of the different departments of J&B Recycling, I believe it gave me a better understanding of what I wanted to do and gave me an insight into the business as a whole and how it works, which is essentially ensuring I’m able to help in all departments.

Q. What qualifications did you need to achieve your role today?

A. Throughout my time at J&B, I have completed multiple qualifications that have helped me achieve my position today. I have the following qualifications:

  • Level 3 NVQ in Customer Service
  • Level 2 NVQ in Transport
  • Internal Auditors Qualifications
  • Health & Safety Qualification – IOSH Managing Safely
  • WAMITAB – Treatment and Transfer of Non-Hazardous Waste
  • Post-Graduate in Business Management

I am continuing to gain qualifications to further my professional development with J&B Recycling.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your role?

A. One of the biggest challenges in my role is that the industry is always changing, quality measures often change which are important for me to keep up with, as well as new and updated technologies, which mean we need to adapt our working routines.

Q. How did you overcome those challenges?

A. As the challenges described happen often in this industry, the best way to overcome them is working as a team and helping each other in the process!

Q. What’s the most valuable skill you’ve learnt?

A. I could list all the skills I have learnt so far but that would take forever! I am so grateful for how much I have learnt since starting at J&B Recycling. It makes me realise that this is the right path for me and I still have even more room for development. Listening is important and recognising different needs of individual needs in training and teamwork.

Listening and communication is an essential skill, as well as recognising different needs of individuals during training and in teamwork.

Q. What advice would you give for soon to be apprentices?

A. I recommend you throw yourself into everything you can get access to; even if you think, you might not be confident enough, just go for it because you will not regret it! This way you will for sure learn something about yourself as well have gaining a range of experience for the future.

Q. It sounds like you’ve found your experience at J&B Recycling invaluable, would you recommend it to others?

A. I highly recommend completing an apprenticeship, whether it may be here at J&B Recycling or at any other Waste Management company. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for an amazing starting point in your career as it opens up so many possibilities for your future. As long as you are willing to put in the work and dedicate to your hard work, you will succeed!

J&B Recycling are based in the North of England. Our commercial collection services operate from the Scottish Borders down to Hull and North Yorkshire. Our main areas for collecting and processing commercial waste include Teesside (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton), Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and NorthumberlandCheck out our careers page for our current vacancies.

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