As we head into autumn, we also head towards the annual LARAC Conference in Nottingham. This is an event I always enjoy. From the interesting presentations at the conference to the awards dinner; and I always look forward to meeting the new LARAC Scholars on the Tuesday before the conference.
This will be the third year that REPIC has sponsored the LARAC Scholars programme which gives 18 scholars (chosen from nominees from Local Authorities across the UK) opportunities to boost their knowledge and experience in waste and recycling. All nominees have worked in recycling and waste for less than seven years at a local authority; and the scholarship aims to offer those selected an enhanced experience of the waste and recycling world. REPIC’s sponsorship enables the scholars to attend the LARAC conference where they benefit not only from the information and insight they gain during the main conference, but also from meeting the other scholars, sharing experiences and making contacts from other local authorities. It’s great to watch the scholars change over the course of the conference where they begin on the Tuesday, looking apprehensive and nervous, and by the awards dinner on the Wednesday evening they are confident and enjoying the event.
This year will also be the third time for me, meeting a new group of anxious scholars at their pre-conference seminar. I will be introducing them to “The World of WEEE” with its many, many confusing acronyms and abbreviations (I will apologise in advance) and let them know what we have planned for them over the next 12 months….
Since REPIC became the sponsor of the LARAC Scholarship, we have extended the programme beyond the three days the scholars are at the conference to enrich their experience over their full year as a “scholar”. Each year we invite the scholars to take part in activities such as writing blog posts, visiting a recycling plant for waste electricals or taking part in round table discussions on waste. The feedback from these activities has been nothing but positive and the scholars have returned to their departments with new knowledge and fresh ideas.
As we make the final preparations for this year’s sponsorship programme, I am looking forward to meeting the class of 2017 at the annual conference and can’t wait to discuss with them what we have planned for this year.