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August 28, 2017 at 04:15 pm

The Industry Training Federation's Skills Highway team is delighted to congratulate Waste Management Ltd for winning the Skills Highway Award at last week's Diversity Awards in Auckland. 
“Waste Management has really gone the extra mile in creating a safer, smarter workplace and better working lives,” says Skills Highway Programme Manager, Nicky Murray. “This award recognises that commitment to developing the literacy, numeracy and communication skills of employees, and, as a result, improving overall business performance.”
Running a New Zealand-wide waste and environmental services operation, with 1300 staff across 40 sites, is no mean feat.  But on top of that, Waste Management Ltd has prioritised the Skills First programme, which puts staff first, and creates a healthier environment both at work and in the community.

Finalists for the Skills Highway award included KiwiRail, Countdown, and Coca-cola Amatil, who have also been dedicated to supporting and upskilling literacy and numeracy among staff.
”One million adult New Zealanders have low literacy and numeracy skills, which undoubtedly puts them on the back foot,” says Ms Murray. “At work, low literacy and numeracy is both a barrier and a risk. To participate fully, we need good literacy and numeracy skills and that’s what we’re all about. In partnership with the Tertiary Education Commission, we support employers to provide workplace training, and the benefits are significant.”
Among the 100 Waste Management employees who completed Skills First last year, there has been a noticeable increase in confidence, engagement and pride. “Increased confidence gives people a voice. We’re told Waste Management employees now speak up and ask questions at meetings,” says Ms Murray. “They have a greater understanding and willingness to engage. This is fantastic for business. For the employee, doors can open to further education or work opportunities. And we constantly hear about better lives outside of work – greater confidence in the community, and at home - being able to help their children with homework for example.”   
We warmly congratulate this year's winners and we applaud all employers who, by upskilling their staff, are transforming workplaces, homes and our communities. 
The Diversity Awards help promote the importance of workplace literacy and numeracy and its vital role in creating a more inclusive society. The Industry Training Federation sponsors the Skills Highway Award as part of Diversity Works Diversity Awards.