Members of staff at a Darlington based waste recycling company are urging more people to undertake work-based training to take that next step on the career ladder.
Andrew Challis and Mark Storrie both see themselves as total success stories after having the opportunities to train in order to progress in their roles.
Andrew Challis, Hazardous and Transfer Station Supervisor, initially started as an unskilled worker in the company’s industrial services division in 2013, before moving through to drum decontamination in 2014. He is now overseeing three members of staff as part of his role.
Andrew states the company’s encouragement of undertaking continuous professional development as the reason he has achieved so much at Total. He said: “The company has paid for all of my training because a lot of the qualifications I have are mandatory for me to hold in my role. They have also funded my supervisor and team leader qualifications to help me reach the standard expected within Total.
“Most of the work I’ve had to do has been in work time too. Total has always been happy to let me attend classes and exams during that time.
Andrew has taken part in Team Leader Level 2 and Level 3 in Waste Management qualifications with Middlesbrough College as well as training in jet washing and forklift driving.
Mark started his career with Total as a forklift driver when the company was founded in 2009 before moving into supervisory and managerial positions.
He said: “My background initially is in hazardous waste, so when the hazardous shed opened in 2011, I was eager to move into there to work. Eventually becoming manager.
“During that time, I was sitting my National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) course with the encouragement of Total. Once I’d passed that I was asked to become the Health and Safety officer. Overseeing the safety of all members of staff across our two sites and client locations. My job now includes the responsibility to ensure that we’re all safe and compliant with regulations.”
Mark has undertaken a number of qualifications throughout his time at Total Recycling Services, including NEBOSH General and Fire Practical certifications, Level 5 NVQ Occupational Health and Safety and WAMITAB Level 4 for Treatment and Transfer.
Mark said: “Total has allowed me to do all of my training courses by giving me the time to study and after coming to an agreement, have even paid me whilst attending classes in my own time. Every qualification I’ve undertaken has really benefitted not only myself but the company also.”
Both men believe in the importance of continuous development and praise Total for allowing them the means and the time to undertake learning.
Mark said: “Professional development is incredibly important. It keeps you a step-in front of the person behind you and ensures that you’re always pushing on. It gives you a level of understanding in your role that you wouldn’t have had without it.
“Instead of getting a view at just one role of an organisation it can allow you to understand the organisation from different perspectives. Helping you to help your colleagues and offer advice from a more informed position.
“If I had any advice for someone in a position to want to go for a role but they don’t have the qualifications is to say go for it. I wasn’t the best academically at school, but I gave it a go and its lead me to bigger and better things.”