These projects have been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein
Grant Agreement Ref. No. 2013-4928/001-001
Project Ref. No 541982-LLP-1-2013-1-UK-LEONARDO-LNW
Developing an EU Standardised Approach to Vocational Educational Training Awards in Healthcare Waste Management (EU-HCWM)
Healthcare institutions, irrespective of the country they are in, generate a multitude of waste types; both non-hazardous and hazardous waste. Health care activities produce a broad range of materials, from used needles and syringes to soiled dressings, body parts, diagnostic samples, blood, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and radioactive materials; all of which need to be managed correctly in order to minimise human and environmental harm.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case and poor management of health care waste potentially exposes health care workers, waste handlers, patients and the wider community to infection, toxic effects and injuries, and also risks polluting the environment. It is essential that all healthcare waste materials are segregated at the point of generation, appropriately treated and disposed of safely.
By developing a qualification and training programme, which underpin the skills and knowledge required to safely carry out solid waste management operations, we can go a long way to making correct waste management practices commonplace. These training programmes should have synergy with EU policy on waste management, and should view the waste management function as an opportunity to utilise waste as a resource and to promote sustainable practices assisting the EU with its commitment to reduce waste and the reliance on landfill as a disposal option. It is also imperative that new training programmes form part of the overarching European Qualifications Framework (EQF) in order that the EU has a highly competitive workforce that will meet the new technological and institutional developments in the field of healthcare waste management in all EU countries.
This year, the project entitled ‘Developing an EU Standardised Approach to
Vocational Educational Training Awards in Healthcare Waste Management' – EU-HCWM, in short – gained funding through the European Commission under the Leonardo Da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme. The project, coordinated by ICERMS Ltd, is made up of 12 organisations, including two pan-European organisations, from 11 European countries (Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland, Albania, Macedonia, Slovenia, Belgium and the UK).
The partners involved in the project SWFM-QF are:
- International Centre for the Environment, Resource Management & Sustainability Ltd (ICERMS)
- SINERGIE Societa Consortile a responsabilita limitata (SINERGIE)
- Institute of Environmental Protection – National Research Institute (IEP-NRI)
- SIGMA Consultants Limited (SIGMA)
- ET Log Health Envirotech & Logistics GmbH (ET Log)
- Regional Environment Centre for Central & Eastern Europe – Country Office Macedonia (REC COM)
- Associacio d’organitzacions registrades EMAS a Catalunya (Club EMAS)
- National Centre for Continuing Education (QKEV)
- Regional Environment Centre for Central & Eastern Europe – Country Ofce Slovenia (REC SLO)
- The NHS Confederation (NHS - Conf)
- European Union of Private Hospitals (UEHP)
- International Solid Waste Association (ISWA)
The project aims to provide a unified approach to the development of National Occupational Standards and Vocational Educational Training Programmes for Healthcare Waste Management across the EU Member States.
This will be achieved through the development of a new healthcare waste management qualification framework, and e-learning platform.
The project will last three years; starting in January 2014, and ending in December 2016. During this time, the project aims to achieve 5 key outputs, which will contribute to the development of a healthcare waste training package, suitable for use across the EU. The key outputs from the project activities are;
- An assessment of the current VET availability across the EU countries, represented by the partner countries.
- The development of a standardised EU vocational training programme for healthcare workers.
- The development of associated training materials for the training programme
- The development of an e-learning platform to deliver the training programme
- An EU wide network of waste and healthcare professionals will be established
It is an exciting project, and we invite institutions, industry associations, companies, individuals and training institutions to participate as stakeholders by joining the EU-HCWM LinkedIn group (www.linkedin.com/groups/euhcwm-7472255). Group members will receive project newsletters, and can gain greater access to the project outputs, including the qualification framework, and training materials.
More information about the project and other informative material can be found through the official EU-HCWM project website (http://www.hcwm.eu).
Documents of Note:
Towards a European Qualification for Solid Waste Facilities Managers (SWFM-QF)
The solid waste management industry is rapidly changing, due to political, environmental, economic and financial drivers – waste is now viewed as a resource and as such, waste practices have evolved. The waste hierarchy influences waste treatment and disposal options and priorities. This has led to the development of new technologies and waste treatment processes which are providing sustainable alternatives to landfill disposal. According to the European Commission, each year in the European Union alone we throw away 3 billion tonnes of waste; this amounts to about 6 tonnes of solid waste for every man, woman and child.
It is clear from these statistics, that effective solid waste management is not just a necessity, but also a priority. As the production of solid waste in Europe continues to grow, there will be a continuing need to ensure that a skilled workforce is available, with adequate knowledge and skills to play an important role in the management of solid waste.
One means of doing this is by developing qualifications which underpin the skills and knowledge required to safely carry out solid waste management operations. These qualifications should have synergy with EU policy on waste and should view the waste management function as an opportunity to utilise waste as a resource and to promote sustainable practices assisting the EU with its commitment to reduce waste and the reliance on landfill as a disposal option for biodegradable waste material. It is also imperative that new training programs form part of the overarching European Qualifications Framework (EQF) in order that the EU has a highly competitive workforce that will meet the new technological and institutional developments in the field of solid waste management in all EU countries.
Last year, the project entitled 'Towards a European Qualification for Solid Waste Facilities 'Managers' – SWFM-QF, in short – gained funding through the European Commission under the Leonardo Da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme. The project, coordinated by SIGMA Consultants Ltd, is made up of 13 organisations from 8 European countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and the UK). The partners involved in the project SWFM-QF are:
- SIGMA Consultants Ltd. (SIGMA)
- Panhellenic Association of Environmental Protection (PASEPPE)
- Saxon Education Company for Environmental Protection and Chemical Occupations Dresden Ltd. (SBG-DD ).
- Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training (F-BB).
- Sinergie Società Consortile A RESPONSABILITA LIMITATA (Sinergie)
- Szent Istvan University (Szie)
- Association of Environmental Enterprises (KSZGYSZ)
- International Centre for the Environment, Resource Management and Sustainability Ltd. (ICERMS)
- Institute of Environmental Protection - National Research Institute (NRI-IEP)
- Polish Chamber of Commerce (PCC)
- Kaunas University of Technology - Institute of Environmental Engineering (KTU-APINI)
- Alytus Region Waste Management Centre (ARWMC)
- Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA)
The project aims to develop a framework for a new solid waste manager’s qualification, which will be standardised for use across all EU member states. This will be done in seven key stages;
- Identify the structure, content and regulation of the qualifications for the SWFM occupation in the European market
- Explore and compare the VET processes whereby these qualifications are acquired
- Detail existing qualifications to the respective NQFs and assess their correlation and alignment with EQF/ECVET
- Identify the competences linked to the specificities of the sector
- Create a harmonized competence and training frame for different levels of SWFM qualifications
- Disseminate project results
- Promote the suitable use of the project outcomes
So far, the frameworks for seven key waste management activities are being developed:
- Landfill development
- Landfill management
- Anaerobic digestion + biological treatment
- Transfer stations + sorting facilities
In addition, there have been 6 “common” qualifications developed;
- Financial & contractual
- Health & safety
- Human Resources
- New Projects
Currently, these qualifications and associated training resources are being evaluated by 2 external evaluators from each country, and a number of network members, acting as internal evaluators. The results from this evaluation process will be used to refine the final version of the qualification framework.
Overall, the project will last 24 months, and is currently over half way through. It is an exciting project, and we invite institutions, industry associations, companies and training institutions to participate as stakeholders by registering on the SWFM-FQ website. By doing so, you will have access to the training toolkit, and will be able to provide your own input, with regards to the development and evaluation of the qualification and training programme.
More information about the project and other informative material can be found through the official SWFM-QF project website (http://www.swfm-qf.eu). In addition the user is given the possibility to sign up to receive project newsletters, and register to gain greater access to the website content, including the qualification frameworks, and training materials.