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Empowering Careers at Waste Management: The Success of the Driver/Operator Academy


When Amy Smith first joined the Waste Management team, she started as a gardener/labourer at our Rotorua site. Recognising her untapped potential, management encouraged Amy to upskill.

Today, thanks to the assistance of the WM Driver/Operator Academy, she proudly holds her Class 4 license and operates state-of-the-art trucks and machinery, contributing significantly to our business.

Amy's success story is just one among many who have found support through the Driver/Operator Academy, a pioneering initiative designed to provide a variety of training opportunities for team members seeking career advancement. From advanced driver licensing to industry qualifications, the academy also lends a helping hand with numeracy and literacy challenges if needed.

Neil Carr, the dedicated Manager of the Driver/Operator Academy, highlights the team's role in pivotal moments such as large project rollouts or the commencement of new contracts. During the eastern Waikato contract rollout, for instance, the academy ensured that new Waste Management drivers underwent intensive, classroom-based core training, making them fully prepared from day one.

The remarkable Driver/Operator Academy team, led by Neil in Rotorua, includes Academy Driver/Operator Trainers Jason Segal in Christchurch, Eric Karena in Palmerston North, and Neville Jacobs in Auckland. Additional support is seamlessly provided by Driver Trainer Mike Henderson from Christchurch when required.

Craig Plested, Waste Management's Chief People Officer, emphasises the Driver/Operator Academy's purpose – to assist our people in carving out their careers with the right skills and ample support.

"It’s all part of our strategy to make Waste Management a great place to work. We’re focused on helping our team thrive," says Plested.

A big thanks to Craig Plested and Neil Carr for the update on the Driver/Operator Academy, showcasing Waste Management's commitment to fostering growth, skills, and success within its team.