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WAMITAB: Validate Delivers What Employers Want

Launched in May 2014, with a strong focus on health and safety compliance, Validate is an on-the-job assessment tool, which complements and supports in-house training and relevant work experience. Employers and training providers have endorsed Validate as an easy-to-use tool for verifying training and skills in the workplace and to “validate” workplace competence.

Modular approach

The Validate assessment tool is adaptable and can be carried out by a company’s own supervisors or managers or they can opt to work with one of WAMITAB’s approved centres. Over 25 activities for assessment feature in the programme, covering:

• Waste and Recycling collection
• Street Cleansing
• Vehicles/Machinery
• General Operations

The modules have been developed with large employers in the waste and resources sector and some of WAMITAB’s leading approved Centres. The current suite of modules has a strong focus on health and safety, and there are plans to extend coverage beyond the waste and recycling industry. The flexibility of the approach means it is relatively straightforward to create additional modules in response to employer demand.

Assessing competence

Assessment is based on the candidate demonstrating to the assessor that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their duties as detailed in the Validate modules. There is no need for the candidate to build a “portfolio of evidence”; rather the assessor determines competence through observation of job performance and asking questions if further verification is required. The process can be either paper-based or recorded electronically and an App will be available shortly that will further simplify the process.

Validate assessment

A training programme is available to support users of the tool to assess the “Validate way”; which is open to those with no previous assessment experience as well as experienced assessors. The assessment approach for Validate is quite different to that required for QCF qualifications so the training is important to achieve a standardised style.

Validate in action

Joe Rogers, Operations Director of Fresh Start Waste Services, participated in a pilot programme and was one of first in the UK to obtain a Validate certificate. Joe worked with the training organisation, Environmental Leadership, and noted that: “Validate seems an ideal way of confirming the skills and knowledge of our staff and having gone through it myself, I am keen to launch it more widely across the business.” The Centre Co-ordinator for Environmental Leadership, Nigel Mair, said: “The Validate scheme is a great initiative from WAMITAB, which enables staff to get formal recognition of their work, whilst the employer can build it into an employee competency system.”

In another pilot, Paul Henry, Assistant Head of School (Engineering Services), South Eastern Regional College (SERC) worked with Recon Waste Management. Paul Henry explained: “It was very user-friendly for candidates and for management, and the unobtrusive assessment process meant that little time was lost during normal working hours. Management were pleased that staff achieved recognition of their CPD; and employees were delighted as they received recognition of their expertise in carrying out their day-to-day duties.”

Don Glaister, director of training and assessment company, Serac UK said: “This as an exciting new development, which provides the sector with an additional route to demonstrate competence for their employees. Employers can see the advantages of the flexible and streamlined approach of the Validate modules.” Serac worked with V C Cooke, which employs 25 people in their waste collection fleet and material recovery facility (MRF) at Beccles, who were keen to map the competence of their staff against an external standard and particularly liked the recognition offered by the WAMITAB assessment process.

Jon Wells, MD of V C Cooke working with Russell Saville, an experienced assessor for Serac, liked that Validate did not require candidates to undertake any special preparation for the assessment and nor any written work, which can be difficult to accommodate with site-based staff with limited access to IT equipment and printers.

Jon Wells said Validate offered clear benefits for individuals and employers: “Candidates once certificated have something to show colleagues or prospective employers that they are competent. The candidates said they felt it was a great boost to get formal recognition for working in a safe and effective manner. Plus, as an employer, we value the WAMITAB certification, which demonstrates to potential clients and enforcing agencies that we take health and safety seriously.” A special award ceremony was held at the Beccles site in October 2014.

Chris James, CEO of WAMITAB, said: “We are greatly encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response we have received so far for Validate, from training providers and employers and operatives. It ‘validates’ WAMITAB’s belief that such a flexible scheme can offer benefits to any organisation – be it a local authority or privately-held company – and opens up the pathway for moving on to more formal qualifications for individuals who may have experienced barriers to this in the past.”