You would work as part of a small team of one driver and several loaders, collecting waste from business owners and householders. Each team is allocated an area to cover each day of the week and must keep to a set schedule.
As a refuse collector your key tasks would include:
With experience, you might drive the collection lorry and supervise the team of loaders.
As the driver, you would:
Typical working hours would be between 6.30am or 7am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. You may sometimes need to work on public holidays, and weekend overtime may be available.
You would work outdoors in all weather conditions. The work is active and involves bending, lifting and carrying heavy bags and bins, and you may also need to dispose of substances such as chemicals or clinical waste from hospitals.
You would be provided with safety clothing including reflective jackets and heavy duty gloves.
Salaries are typically around £17,000 to £18,000 a year for collectors and £19,000 for drivers. Managers can earn around £25,000 a year.
You could work for a local council or for a private waste management company under contract to a council. You could also work for one of the growing number of commercial recycling companies.
Jobs may be advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus, employers' websites and the LG Jobs website.
You do not need any qualifications to become a refuse collector or loader. In some organisations you may have to be aged 18 or over, for health and safety reasons.
To work as a driver, you must have an LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) licence. See the large goods vehicle driver job guide for more information.
You may be able to get in to this type of work through an Apprenticeship. The Intermediate Level Apprenticeship (level 2) in Sustainable Resource Management provides an ideal opportunity to train for this role. Employers recruiting on to the intermediate level apprenticeship would normally look for applicants holding three to five GCSE's including English, maths and a science subject, although this is not always the case. Applicants with higher grades are more likely to be successful.
The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about the Apprenticeship, visit Energy & Utility Skills' website or the Apprenticeships website.
You will be trained on the job by your employer. Your training is likely to include health and safety, manual handling, and the disposal of hazardous items.
You may get the chance to achieve the following work-based qualifications:
If you gain an LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) licence you could progress to become a refuse collection driver. Some employers may pay for your LGV training.
With experience, you could progress into supervisory or waste management jobs and take further qualifications such as the level 3 Diploma for Waste Supervisor and level 3 and 4 Diplomas for Waste Manager and the level 4 Diploma in Waste Management Operations.
See the Energy & Utility Skills website for details of training providers.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A refuse collector needs:
With experience, you could progress to team leader or supervisor.
With further training you could become a waste management officer or recycling officer – for more information, see the related job guides and the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) website.
Chartered Institution of Wastes Management,
9 Saxon Court, St Peter's Gardens, Marefair,
Northampton NN1 1SX
Tel: 01604 620426
Energy & Utility Skills,
Friars Gate, 1011 Stratford Road, Shirley,
Solihull B90 4BN
Tel: 0845 077 9922
Waste Management Industry Training & Advisory,
Board (WAMITAB), Peterbridge House,
3 The Lakes, Northampton NN4 7HE
Tel: 01604 231950
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.