Skills Development in Local Authorities: Launch of the LARAC Skills Protocol in partnership with WAMITAB and CIWM

LARAC have teamed up with WAMITAB and CIWM to deliver a comprehensive programme of waste and resource management skills, qualifications assessment  and training.  The package is designed to support the authorities to meet the ever increasing demands of the environmental agenda, through the continuous development of our people.  The “Skills Protocol” seeks  commitment  to the development  of a professional workforce and provides a framework from which local authorities can  benefit from changes in the local and national skills agenda.  The Protocol will provide  clear career pathways and direction   to   those we seek to attract into the sector and into a career in public services.  As we develop our operations, we need to determine; how many frontline staff are currently competent and qualified? What is the minimum level of competence  required  of contracted staff on site? Do we have an agreed baseline standard of skill and competence  adopted across all the authorities?  And importantly, can we build a coherent offer to access the opportunities apprenticeships offer. 

The Local Authorities network is the largest waste 'contractor' in the country and should establish consistent skills needs across the sector and apply them to all who work with us.

The first step in the protocol development is to undertake a skills survey which would review the current skills status and within limits determine the future skills needs of local  authorities going forward.   

Changes and Challenges in the Skills System: Adoption of WAMITAB apprenticeships

Much has been made of the new style 'trailblazer apprenticeships' and the Apprenticeship Levy, not least its potential impact on Local Authorities. But, within the resource and waste management sector, we already have access to up to date, employer developed WAMITAB apprenticeship qualifications.  These exist at Operator, Supervisor and Manager Level across a range of job roles.  The qualifications come with funding and will remain in force for the foreseeable future.  The Local Authority can access these apprenticeships through existing funding streams and potentially through the levy.  A key outcome of this programme will be to establish the real demand and communicate how we as authorities can adopt a consistent and sustainable use of apprentices. This is not just about core operational delivery staff, this is about all employees that work across the waste and resource management area including those who wish to move into different areas.

LARAC commitment to maximising benefit:

LARAC will work with our partners to create a delivery network with funding ring fenced for this project region by region.    But, as authorities, we need to demonstrate demand and aggregate this demand into delivery clusters to ensure we maximise the funding support.  One key outcome will be the launch of the Higher Level Apprenticeship for our managers and future managers.  It will be combined with a WAMITAB primary qualification to deliver technically competent managers. This ‘Competence Plus’ offer will deliver real savings to local authorities.  It will reduce  and potentially  remove the cost for qualifying a technical competent manager.  Better still, it will also provide a real opportunity to develop progression routes and succession planning.  

The next steps:  What opportunities exist now?

Whilst we are developing the medium to long term programme, we do not want to put a hold on any activity.  If you have any specific requirements or could benefit from a discussion (particularly around competence or current apprenticeships/funding then then please contact WAMITAB.   Over the coming weeks, we will be seeking to work with Local Authorities to shape and develop the protocol, but the first stage will be sending out an electronic survey to all members.  We ask for this to be returned by the end of April. This will be analysed and used to support the development of the final protocol.  In the meantime, we are seeking expressions of interest from Local Authorities who have an immediate need to work with us to identify and shape the detail.

We are targeting a formal launch in September, but will be working on pilot activity from May through July, with an evaluation in August.