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Job Sheet: Resource Recovery

Job title:
Resource Recovery Worker

Job description:
The Resource Recovery industry is a vibrant and diverse industry which provides environmental services to all other industries and the general public. These services make a critical contribution to New Zealand's economy and the quest for sustainability.

Resource Recovery covers eight key process areas:

- Zero Waste
- Scrap Metal
- Reuse
- Construction & Demolition
- Composting
- Recycling
- Solid Waste
- Hazardous and Special Waste

Resource Recovery is a job-rich industry with the potential to create large numbers of new, multi-skilled jobs in the 'green-collar' workforce.  Workers carry out a broad range of activities including:

- Operating plant, machinery and vehicles eg diggers, loaders and forklifts
- Identifying and sorting different materials for reuse and recycling such as plastics, paper/card, glass and green waste
- Composting and worm farming
- Identifying and sorting different ferrous and non-ferrous metals for processing 
- Customer relations and retail
- Working with hazardous substances 
- Disposal of solid and special waste 
- Understanding of the need for sustainability and the need to work towards a 'Zero Waste' goal
Qualifications required:
There are no specific qualification requirements for entry to the industry. 
Qualifications can be achieved while working in the industry through on-the-job training, so employees can earn while they learn.  A range of national qualifications covering the process areas listed above are available through EXITO, the Extractive Industries Training Organisation). 

Training costs:
As training for national qualifications is done mostly on the job, there is generally no cost to the trainee.  The cost of the training is usually paid by the company, and training subsidies may be available from EXITO.

Location of job:
There are job opportunities across New Zealand, and vacancies are expected to grow significantly as more New Zealanders become aware of the need to use resources more efficiently to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions. Employees will have the opportunity to work outdoors and indoors depending on the job.

Career path:
Anyone working in the industry can participate in industry training, and work towards a range of national qualifications, from a Limited Credit Programme, to National Certificates and Diplomas across a range of Levels and Senior Management Training. Training can be a mix of on-job and off-job activity.

The limited credit programme (LCP) is designed to ease people into the process of working towards a national qualification. The LCP is made up of industry specific unit standards, and is easily achieved on the job.

There are several national qualifications in Resource Recovery providing good progression opportunities.

- National Certificate in Resource Recovery Operations (Level 3)
- National Certificate in Zero Waste and Resource Recovery (Principles for Implementation) (Level 3)
- National Certificate in Resource Recovery Operations (Level 4) 
- National Diploma in Resource Recovery (Level 5) with an optional strand in Cleaner Production
- National Diploma in Zero Waste and Resource Recovery (Level 5)

Composting and Scrap Metal Recyling are specific areas of the Resource Recovery industry which offer dedicated national qualifications and career pathways as follows:

- National Certificate in Composting (Core Skills) (Level 2)
- National Certificate in Composting (Level 3)
- National Diploma in Composting (Level 5)

- National Certificate in Scrap Metal Recycling (Introductory Skills) (Level 2)
- National Certificate in Scrap Metal Recycling (Administration) (Level 3)
- National Certificate in Scrap Metal Recycling (Operations) (Level 3)
- National Certificate in Scrap Metal Recycling (Nonferrous Purchasing) (Level 5)

Progression opportunities also exist in the Solid and Hazardous Waste sectors with the following national qualifications:

- National Certificate in Solid Waste (Core Skills) (Level 2) with an optional strand in Hazardous Waste
- National Certificate in Solid Waste Disposal (Landfill Entry Control) (Level 3) 
- National Certificate in Solid Waste Disposal (Landfill Operations) (Level 3)
- National Certificate in Solid Waste Disposal (Landfill Management) with optional strands in Gas Extraction, Leachate Removal, and Tiphead Control (Level 4)
- National Certificate in Hazardous Waste (Processing and Disposal) (Level 3)
- National Certificate in Hazardous Waste (Processing and Disposal) (Level 4) 
- National Diploma in Hazardous Waste (Processing and Disposal) (Level 5)

Job opportunities can be found at a range of sites including community recycling organisations, scrap metal recycling companies, waste management facilities and solid/waste landfill operations.  Career pathways will range from a basic labourer, to an operator and right through to supervisory and management levels. 

Salary range:
The salary scale in this industry varies significantly depending on the job and level within the industry.  Workers in this industry could expect to earn anything from $15,000 - $100,000+ per year.  Current statistics indicate that:

- around 40% of workers earn between $10,000 and $30,000
- around 50% of workers earn between $30,000 and $70,000
- around 10% of workers earn more than $100,000

Other careers this profession could lead to:
There are a number of career pathways within the Resource Recovery industry and progression prospects include supervisory and management positions as well as owner-operator opportunities. 

Some jobs, such as plant, machinery and heavy vehicle operators will have many opportunities to transfer into other industries requiring similar skill sets, eg quarrying, mining, construction.

Tips on how to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry:
This is an industry which welcomes volunteers, particularly in the community recycling operations, so this is a great way for people to get known by the managers, putting themselves in a good position when paid jobs become available. 

An interest in the environment and the waste management process would be beneficial.

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