CSG: Same Place, Different World

Posted on http://www.csg.co.uk/blog on July 17th 2019

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/same-place-different-world-40-years-at-cadishead

March 1979 was an uncertain time. Emerging from the ‘Winter of Discontent’, James Callaghan’s government had lost a confidence vote, forcing a General Election.  Airey Neave MP was killed by terrorists with a car bomb in the House of Commons car park, police in Yorkshire were searching for a killer they believed to be involved in the murder of ten women and economists were widely predicting that Britain was heading for a recession.  Appropriately, perhaps, the two number one singles in that month were ‘Tragedy’ by the Bee Gees and ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.

Mike Wright today.  Photo: CSG

It was against this dispiriting backdrop that a 19 year-old called Mike Wright from Cadishead was at a crossroads of his own.  He’d left school with ambitions of a career in engineering but the fragile economy of the late seventies meant that apprenticeships in the car industry were few and far between.  A short spell working at the steelworks in Warrington was restricted by unhelpful train timetables which saw him struggle to arrive at work on time every day.  As a remedy to this problem, his mother arranged an interview for him at Lancashire Tar Distillers on Liverpool Road, where she worked as a secretary to one of the directors.

Mike recalls his interview with a smile:

“A man called Harold Rutter met me.  ‘Hello Mike, please take a seat.  Now, tell me, do you mind getting covered in [Northern word for excrement, rhyming with ‘white’]?’.  I said ‘No’ and he just said ‘Well, I’ll look forward to seeing you first thing, Monday morning.’”.

Clearly, It was, as the saying goes, a simpler time.

Mike’s first role was one of the ‘Yard Gang’, a group of six men whose job was to fill drums of creosote and liquid tar, ready for them to be collected by customers.  Another oil product, pitch, was produced at very high temperatures, which, once poured onto the floor and cooled, had to be broken up with jackhammers and shovelled into drums.  Unsurprisingly, health and safety standards in those days were not what they are today.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that risks were mostly assessed by the men advising each other simply to avoid repeating the actions that had maimed or killed previous colleagues.

In truth, the tar distillery operation was by then in the throes of a long decline.  The nearby Manchester Ship Canal had ceased to be a significant means of transport, all the machinery was driven by steam and an antique locomotive was still occasionally used to move materials from one part of the site to another.

After two years in the yard gang, Mike moved to the storage area, loading and unloading products for customers.  As custodian of the stored inventory for the next five years or so, it was also Mike’s job to assist whenever Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise came to visit, to check and meter the accuracy of the record-keeping.

By the 1990s, the Lane brothers had sold their stake in Lancashire Tar Distillers and the operation was renamed Lanstar by the new owners.  Amid the many changes around this time was the end of tar production and a focus on chemicals and waste treatment – and one change in particular was to be to Mike’s benefit.

“One Christmas, the chemical operators decided to go out for a few drinks at lunchtime.  When they came back, filled with ‘Dutch courage’, they demanded to see the bosses and ask for better pay.  The result was that they were all sacked and I got one of the jobs in the new team.”

This was a much more technical job that required constant monitoring as various materials were distilled, pressurised and mixed to make detergents and wetting agents.  Even so, there was little or no official documentation to cover the processes involved in working with a wide range of different materials, some quite hazardous.  Mike was tasked with creating a clear guide to each of the nine different major aspects of his role, a project that today, we might refer to as Process Mapping, which also began to inform the emerging health and safety requirements of working in such an environment.

His diligence and growing experience saw him promoted to foreman of the chemical operation at Lanstar.  Suddenly, he was on call 24 hours a day, dealing with incidents as and when they occurred.

His abilities were further recognised when he became Plant Manager of the Hydrocarbon section, in overall charge of the collection and storage of the waste oil being processed on the site.  In order to fulfil this role, Mike needed qualifications.  For five years, he studied in evenings and at weekends, passing sixteen exams and eventually earning a City & Guilds Level 3 qualification in Process Plant Operations.

Unfortunately for Mike, after all that effort, plummeting oil prices put a stop to the viability of Lanstar treating waste oil, resulting in the closure of its Hydrocarbon division.  Instead, Mike moved to the Solid Fixation Plant, supervising the different processes of making cake for landfill.

By this point, the new millennium had dawned and things were about to change again.  Lanstar had spent years trying to make the most of their investment in the former Lancashire Tar Distillers site but economic realities had made them an attractive takeover prospect and in 2000, the company was acquired by CSG.

Immediately, efficiencies were made, which included a number of redundancies.  Recalling the uncertainties of the time today, he’s quite sanguine: “I reckon I dodged redundancy a couple of times”.  It’s likely his wide experience was seen as an asset at the time as his new role of Shift Leader of a reduced workforce meant that he needed to be versatile enough to work on all the remaining aspects of the business.

Another stint followed on the ‘Solid Fix’ plant, while Mike worked to obtain a Diploma in IT, furthering his interest in the maintenance of the computers which were starting to become a central part of every workplace.

For the last four years, Mike has been tasked with overseeing CSG’s innovative nickel and copper reclamation processes, as the valuable metals are separated from scrap material using a process called electrowinning.  It all sounds deceptively simple but daily exposure to the hazards posed by electrical currents and sulphuric acid suggests it’s a job for someone with lots of experience of following safely procedures: “I watch what I’m doing.”, Mike says, modestly.  “Slower is usually safer.”

Despite (or perhaps because of) his seniority, Mike’s adherence to safety protocols has led to him receiving his fair share of ribbing from his colleagues.  One notorious gag that did the rounds for a while was this: ‘What do Michael Wright and Michael Jackson have in common? They both wear gloves for no reason!’

Despite the notability of the occasion, Mike recalls the ups and downs of his career over the last forty years with little ceremony.

“It all seems to have gone past pretty quickly.  I’ve always said that working here has been like playing a game of snakes and ladders.  I’ve been up a few ladders and down a few snakes – and now I’m happy to stay out of the way of them both.  I have looked at other jobs over the years but this is local and you’re never sure what might happen at a new place.  I look at some people who are always swapping jobs but it never seems to make a lot of sense to me.

“I’m happy where I am.”

The world has changed hugely in the last forty years.  Technological and social changes have seen our lives become hugely different from those in the late seventies – for better and, in some ways, for worse.  March 1979 was an uncertain time but despite the many improvements we’ve experienced in the interim, uncertainties about the future have always remained.  One lesson from Mike’s story is that, when he started work at Liverpool Road, Cadishead, even though so much in the world seemed like a tragedy, he did survive.

CSG: From One Revolution to the Next – A History of our Cadishead Site

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on January 17th 2018

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/one-revolution-next-history-csg-cadishead

Our recent blogpost about CSG’s heritage showed the importance of history to this company. Developing the idea, we thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at one of our sites, our processing facility in Cadishead, near Manchester.

Like many towns in the swathe of territory between Manchester and Liverpool, Cadishead became thrust into the heart of the Industrial Revolution by the construction of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway from 1826. In fact, Chat Moss, an area of marshland just north of our site became notable for the challenge it provided to the railway’s engineers, led by the renowned George Stephenson. Four years later, on September 15th 1830, the new line, a marvel of the Victorian age, opened to wide acclaim – with Robert Stephenson’s famous Rocket among the first locomotives to run on the line.

Cadishead’s significance was further assured in the late 1880s, with the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. On the day it opened, January 1st 1894, it was the largest canal of its type in the world and would enable Manchester, a city located some 40 miles inland to become Britain’s third-busiest port. With such strong transport links, this previously agricultural area had, within a couple of generations, become one of the most strategically important locations in the country.

If you’ve ever used the stretch of the M62 between its junctions with the M6 at Birchwood and the M60 at Eccles, you may have noticed just how uneven the road can be – and how often it seems to be re-surfaced. Local wisdom suggests that the ground beneath is so criss-crossed with mine shafts and extracted coal, even after over a hundred years, the soil is still settling into place, disrupting the surface. In the early 1890s, with the advent of the Ship Canal, nearby Cadishead suddenly became a hugely important location to load millions of tonnes of coal onto waiting barges.

An early map of the canal shows a high concentration of recently-laid railway lines nearby, crossing the canal and terminating at a loading areas on both banks – the viaduct remains today, albeit unused. It also indicates that while the immediate area around our Liverpool Road site remained quite agricultural in nature, even then, a mineral line ran alongside the canal, where today’s Cadishead Way by-pass (A57) begins.

As the area began to prosper from its now enviable location, it was clear that the site around Hayes Farm was far too important to be left unexploited and a local railway historian suggests that around the turn of the 20th Century, it became the home of the Lancashire Patent Fuel Company, a manufacturer of fuel briquettes. Around the time of the First World War, the company was acquired by the Manna Oil Refinery, a name which would make newspaper headlines in 1915.

It was on the 8th October that year that a fire broke out at the refinery. With highly flammable liquids stored on site and no public fire-fighting service in the vicinity, there was grave concern that a deeper tragedy may occur. Quickly, the Works Fire Brigade of the nearby Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS), a volunteer force of 25 men and their horse-drawn appliance. With seven police constables holding back growing crowds, they were eventually supported by the Eccles Fire Brigade with their more modern, motorised, fire engine.

Thankfully, no lives were lost although three of the men who fought the fire were severely burned. The damage to the site resulted in a £3,500 insurance claim (£370,000 at today’s value) and the resulting inquest decided that the Eccles Fire Brigade should take responsibility for Irlam and Cadishead. It would be another eight years until Irlam was afforded its own Fire Brigade and Engine.

In 1916, British Tar Products opened a site at the end of Hayes Road, making explosives for the war effort, gaining a capability that extended beyond the war with the production of other oil-based products. Tar became an even more important part of the local economy when, a few years later, the Lancashire Tar Distillers opened a plant in the shadow of the Cadishead Viaduct.

In1932, the then Duke of York – later to become King George VI – the father of Queen Elizabeth visited Irlam to be given a tour of the nearby CWS Margarine factory and Steelworks. Around the same time, this aerial photograph of Cadishead was taken – our Liverpool Road site is unfortunately just out of shot to the left of the picture.

EPW045089_British_Tar_Products_Ltd_and_the_Manchester_Ship_Canal_Cadishead_from_the_east_1934_Smaller-800x638

With the country at war once again between 1939 and 1945, the area was vital to the war effort, supplying coal, steel and household goods to power and sustain the country. The strategic importance of the Manchester Ship Canal was not lost on the Luftwaffe, who repeatedly bombed Salford Quays, famously damaging Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground in the process. With so much vital industry and infrastructure, Cadishead did not escape the bombing, with properties on Liverpool Road amongst those hit by the bombs.

By the end of the war, Cadishead was given an eerie reminder of the reason behind the hardships of the previous six years. With victory in Europe declared, the U1023, a 500-ton German U-boat, captured by the Royal Navy, embarked on a tour of the country to raise money for the King George’s Fund for Sailors. She was sailed along the Manchester Ship Canal, passing a matter of yards from our Cadishead site, to Salford Quays, where she was on display between 6th and 11th July 1945.

With the war won and, eventually, rationing over, Britain began to recover her prosperity and, by 1957, with the words of the Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan that “most of our people have never had it so good”, Irlam and Cadishead was indeed teeming with industry and opportunity. Aerial photographs of the time show a thriving steelworks in Irlam separated from the British Tar Products site in Cadishead by the Cheshire railway line approach to the Cadishead viaduct. Britain’s post-war resurgence was quite literally forged in places like this.

On the morning of Tuesday April 14th 1970, five men were killed while being ferried over the Manchester Ship Canal by “Bob’s Ferry”, a service that had existed for almost a hundred years, which operated from Bob’s Lane, adjacent to our current site. Further upstream in Partington, a Dutch vessel was being loaded with 1,800 tons of petrol and, due to the negligence of those who should have been supervising the operation, upto 14,000 gallons had overflowed into the canal. It was never known what sparked the fuel but within seconds, upto a mile of the canal became engulfed with flames upto 60 feet high. On April 30th, a sixth man died, as a result of the injuries sustained.

In the 1970s, times were changing and Cadishead seemed to be a perfect example of the transition from one era to the next. Like many heavy industries in Britain in the that decade, it was clear that decline had set in and in 1979, the Irlam Steelworks closed, resulting in redundancy and uncertainty for hundreds of local families. In the same year, a Cadishead-born graphic designer called Ray Lowry saw the release of his most famous work – the iconic cover of The Clash’s most famous album, ‘London Calling’. The demise of heavy industry coinciding with the rise of the creative economy and popular culture were apparent in many places in 1979 but in this respect, Cadishead seemed to be a microcosm of the whole country.

In 1981, the Manchester Ship Canal railway closed, leaving the British Tar company to operate its own rail connection. By the mid-1990s, the Tar production stopped and the site was cleared, eventually used for housing development a decade or so later.

Our site at Liverpool Road in Cadishead was by this point operated by Lanstar, a derivative company of the Lancashire Tar Distillers who had occupied a site in Cadishead for over 80 years and had developed an expertise in treating industrial and hazardous waste.

With the emergence of ever-tightening restrictions on waste, this was an industry in its own throes of revolution and opportunity, just like Cadishead had seen with coal, oil and then steel over the previous century. With its enviable facilities and strategic location (although now, proximity to the motorway network had become more important that the Manchester Ship Canal), it was a prime candidate for acquisition and in August 2000, Lanstar Holdings was acquired by CSG.

With such a rich history, and a key part in the Industrial Revolution, the Co-operative movement and then the subsequent decline of mining and steelworks, Cadishead and Irlam’s development has, to a large extent, become a textbook example of the very history of industry in the UK over the last two hundred years. With CSG’s focus on recycling and commitment to development to achieve better waste outcomes in future, it combines two of the most sought-after elements to meet the challenges ahead: environmental sustainability and the so-called knowledge economy.

In many ways, this part of Cadishead is as well-placed to meet the needs of the future as it was when Stephenson’s Rocket raced past, all those years ago.

CSG: Treatment and Recovery

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on September 26th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/treatment-and-recovery/

If you’ve spent any time involved with the Waste industry, it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll be familiar with the Waste Hierarchy.  As long ago (or as relatively recently, depending upon your viewpoint) as the 1970s, the time came for waste to cease to be thought of as something you could just ‘throw away’ – which usually meant simply burying it or burning it (and burying what was left).  Disposal as a default method had finally become seen as unsustainable.

In 1975, the EU – or the EEC as it was, back then – announced a directive, which sought to rank the options available to minimise the creation and impact of waste.  Like most directives, its guideline status meant that it could easily be ignored and, by and large, it was.  Fourteen years later, the idea was revisited and drawn up into a hierarchy of management actions, to encourage its more widespread use.

waste-hierarchy-2

At the dawn of the 1990s, the concept of recycling began to gain some favour – where conditions allowed – with notable successes in campaigns to use recycled aluminium drinks cans or literature printed on recycled paper but these were examples of ‘soft’ social pressure rather than ‘hard’ legislation taking effect on areas that were, technically speaking, arguably ‘easy wins’.

Only by the turn of the millennium were the principles espoused by the hierarchy finally drafted into UK law, a quarter of a century after the concept was first proposed.  To put that into perspective, when in 1998, ‘Bob the Builder’ was first broadcast, encouraging children to “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”, the mantra was still officially nothing more than an idealistic guideline.

Of course, in the years since then, legal expectations and waste practices have changed almost beyond recognition; the industry has had to re-invent itself from one that largely just ‘got rid of’ waste to one that was willing to go to ever-greater lengths to find a way to reclaim it in one way or another.  The relative inertia of the 25 years beforehand has been well and truly washed away with a growing tide of ever-more stringent waste regulations in the 17 years of the 21st century.

Jen Cartmell, our Operations Manager, based at our Cadishead facility explains further:

“Higher landfill taxes not only had the effect of calming the demand for simple disposal but they also encouraged operators to develop alternative solutions and created the conditions for them to invest in those alternatives.  That, combined with the higher standards expected of those who make money from waste has led to a far more professional industry today.”

Following on from those ‘easy wins’ of the 1990s, the move to expand the scope of treatment and recovery has led to ever-more intricate processes to extract reclaimed materials in one way or another.  Inevitably, the ubiquity and the residual value of oil has led to oil recovery being one of the most lucrative areas in this burgeoning sector, a logical development reflected in CSG’s strategy by our acquisition of Willacy Oil Services in 2015.

With the industry’s successes in extracting waste oil for re-refinery, together with the growing capability for separating precious metals from waste streams to create a ‘circular economy’, it’s tempting to think of waste treatment and recovery as a modern-day form of alchemy, the mythical ancient art of turning base metals into gold.  For centuries, many cultures have tried in vain to find a process to do just that. Are we, figuratively speaking, now at that point with a large proportion of our waste?

A qualified chemist, Jen is quick to point out the limitations. Treatment processes are vital to recovering the material but they’re only one part of the equation – and very often, the easiest part.

“In order to have a truly viable treatment and recovery capability, you need three things. First, a guaranteed supply of a particular waste stream, in which there is little variability of supply or composition; second a reliable, process which efficiently allows the material to be recovered in a re-usable state; and third a market for that recovered material.  Even if you’ve mastered the recovery process itself, if you can’t guarantee a steady stream to apply it to, you can’t make the investments needed to operate it and, obviously, if it’s too difficult to sell what you’ve recovered, it’s clearly not an economically viable proposition.”

Simply put, even if you’ve worked out the ‘how’ to treat and recover, you always have to be able to prove the ‘why’, the commercial incentive to actually do it.  Such pragmatism can seem rather negative but only because it flies in the face of the conventional view that re-cycling is akin to a magic process, capable of solving the world’s consumption needs.  As consumers, we’re invited to buy into that rather simplistic viewpoint because it increases the effectiveness of those ‘easy win’ examples like aluminium and paper.  If you look at these two cases objectively, they’re both perfect examples of the three-stage rule Jen explained – offering a steady supply of waste and a strong demand for the reclaimed matter.  Particularly in the case of paper, if a more digital world significantly reduced the need to buy as much of it, there would be far less incentive for anyone to recycle it.

There are some great examples of advances being made to broaden the principle in other areas – fly ash into bricks and desulphurisation gypsum from power stations into plasterboard.  Here at CSG, we’ve been able to develop commercially-viable methods to treat and recover tanalised timber and recover nickel from aqueous wastes, painstaking methods of recovery to sell to a market that was previously less well-supplied.  Even so, in both cases, the reclaimed products currently struggle to match the success of our subsidiary J&G Environmental which takes large volumes of rejected egg boxes and merely shreds them in order to make them a valuable animal bedding product.  Once again, it proves the process of recovery isn’t everything.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the growth of treatment and recovery is the fact that it’s still in its infancy.  As an industry, we’re only a couple of decades into even entertaining the idea that waste materials can be reclaimed and re-sold – and you could argue that so much has already been achieved.  Future development will not be without its difficulties – Jen is concerned that the suspension of the Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste panel is currently a disincentive for many companies to invest heavily in treatment and recovery research – but history teaches us that commercial imperative is not to be resisted for long.  There are some intriguing areas of opportunity, should the will be there to exploit them, with phosphorous suggested by experts as a particularly lucrative example.  Similarly, a means of more finely treating the waste water system to harness microscopic traces of gold that wash from our jewellery could represent a big enough prize for someone to attempt it.

To take advantage of such imaginative thinking, you have to decide what could be achievable if anything was possible.  Having identified what’s achievable, you then have to decide how you make the technique possible.  Whether in the name of science, discovery or commerce, such ‘blue-sky’ thinking has always been a potent driving force.  It’s a sign of how far the waste industry has come in a relatively short time: two generations ago, it was little more than a dirty job for hardened souls, in two generations’ time, it really could be the preserve of alchemists.

CSG: In A Positive Place

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 19th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/in-a-positive-place/

The concept of apprenticeship seems to be a strangely controversial one. We often hear how, in “the good old days”, being an apprentice was admired as the only way to enter a trade and how it combined on-the-job learning with real-life values of respect and professional conduct – something worth preserving, you’d think.

And yet a quick Google news search on the subject throws up a myriad of pages that are anywhere between lukewarm and critical of the Government’s latest initiative, the Apprenticeship Levy, with fears of flawed planning, spiralling costs, even job losses all being cited. It all seems as if the merits of apprenticeship are in danger of being forgotten amongst all the doom-mongering, hidden-agenda crossfire.

Daniel Fairhurst is a real-world reminder of what this is all about. At 19, he’d already started to gain experience of electrical work, with seven months with a council housing company in Salford, working on refurbishments. As with many a 19 year-old, thrust into a shop-floor environment, he describes his younger self as quiet and shy. Aside from learning the ropes from older, more experienced colleagues, he quickly understood that the less technical aspects of the job were just as important: “the tenants were still living in the houses while I was working on them – which made things interesting from time to time. One time, there was a guy hiding in his mum’s loft, on the run from the Police!”

After accidentally landing a job at CSG (he’d handed in his CV to a lady at a nearby company who’d happened to pass it to her husband, working at Cadishead), Dan was enrolled on three-year apprenticeship programme, which incorporated City & Guilds and NVQ qualifications with Salford College.c

Earlier this year, Dan, now 22, completed the programme and gained his Level 2 & 3 qualifications. Three years into his career with CSG, he’s come a long way from the quiet lad who joined the company.

“I’m definitely more confident when I’m in work. Obviously, I’m more confident about the stuff I’m qualified in but I also trust my common sense a lot more and I feel more able to show the real side of my personality. Usually, when there’s an issue with any machinery on site, it’s down to us in the Electrical team to diagnose it. If it’s a purely electrical situation, we’ll deal with it. Sometimes, there might also be a mechanical aspect, which I’ll pass on to the Engineering team but I’ll let them know what I think it is and what I think they should do. We like to keep Engineering on their toes – and we know they’ll give it us back if they get a chance. There’s a lot of black humour involved but it’s a positive part of the job and it keeps you sharp. There’s a kudos to being able to say ‘I spotted this’ – and I like being right! I’m very competitive: a poor loser and an even worse winner.”

In many ways, this is a part of apprenticeship that’s just as important as gaining the formal knowledge and experience required to do the job. While it can easily be dismissed as unproductive ‘banter’, the dynamics of working closely with other people, other departments and other companies, each with their differing rules of engagement, encourage a set of soft skills that are often just as useful as those that require a qualification. Words like ‘rapport’ and ‘negotiation’ can often seem like old-fashioned notions from a time when tasks weren’t so process-driven and people were often expected to ‘wing it’ to get the job done.

Today, we’re often conditioned to view any departure from process as a failure – and in lots of cases they are – but that’s not to say that the older values are out-dated. In fact, the opposite is probably true: if it’s true that fewer people today rely on softer skills such as empathy, humour and building rapport, those who can utilise them will stand out more prominently.

Every time Dan is called to a job at Cadishead, whether it’s a £150,000 metal recycling baler or a malfunctioning kettle, he’s not just assessing the electrical considerations (although that’s obviously the most basic requirement), he’s also balancing the priority of the job to the company, compared to the rest of that day’s workload, he’s working within set operational parameters, particularly those of Health & Safety and he’s trying to meet the immediate needs of the person or people most closely affected.

In short, he has the capacity to be everyone’s friend – even though circumstances can often dictate that he has to disappoint someone. I made a point of asking how much of all of that was covered in his coursework. “There’s always a Health & Safety aspect to any of the work we do so I’d say we covered that but the rest of it is just up to me to use my common sense”

Far from merely being ‘common sense’ the world of work is now beginning to value soft skills and encourage their development. Like the very concept of apprenticeship, where values were passed down for centuries before the idea seemed to fall out of favour and then, with recent initiatives, began to experience a renaissance, even common sense itself has become recognised as not being common enough, in need of passing on, in all its various forms. The wheel has turned full circle, it seems.

In fact, for Dan, it keeps turning. With one programme completed, he’s about to embark on the next one, an Apprenticeship Levy-funded HNC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Trafford College. It’s a sign of his growing development and importance to CSG but it’s also an opportunity for which he’s “particularly grateful”.

Away from work, Dan keeps up his competitive streak at the gym. But when time allows, he’s a keen attendee of various festivals around the country and expects one day to make his way round Europe to some of the biggest festivals in the world. He’s made a habit in recent years of spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, which sounds like a mission not for the faint-hearted! He’d also like to set his sights further at some stage, with Australia on his bucket list of destinations.

In the meantime, he’s working on his next target, which is to live “for at least a couple of years” right in the centre of Manchester – just as soon as his student mates graduate and start earning money! I put it to him that it sounds like something similar to the setting of ‘Friends’ – and if so, which character would that make him? We’d already discussed a love of food so the instant answer came as no surprise – “Joey!”

IMG_2592
“How you doin’?”

Dan is a perfect example of the benefits of apprenticeship – to employer and employee alike. His growing skill set, encouraged by further learning and day-to-day experience in a nurturing environment are just what CSG and, by extension, any company, should hope to gain from the principle. It’s also encouraging to think that across the country, the Apprenticeship Levy is encouraging the next wave of skilled workers, just like Dan and definitely not, as the song says, “stuck in second gear”.

CSG: Confined Spaces, 25 Places

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 10th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/confined-spaces-25-places/

Earlier this year, 25 of our team underwent training to enable them to work safely and correctly in confined spaces.

Confined Spaces Regulations have been in force since 1997 and are designed to protect workers from the risks associated with working in areas defined as ‘substantially enclosed’, such as a lack of oxygen, amongst a host of other dangers.

The course covered the potential hazards of working in confined spaces, explored the precautionary measures that are available and looked at how those factors combined to inform risk assessment. It also included modules on gas detection and the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and escape apparatus.

Finally, there was a chance to put the theory into practice with a practical exercise, in which the trainees had to physically enter and get out of a confined space before a selection of multiple-choice questions at the end of the day.

“The training was necessary to ensure that we reinforce a safe system of working in such a potentially hazardous area, while of course continuing to meet our obligations to our employees and the law.  With all that in mind, we considered the day to have been a tremendous success” said Sarah Taylor, Compliance Manager at CSG’s Manchester operational facility.

This was one of a number of training initiatives undertaken by CSG this year, demonstrating our commitment to continually raise our standards by investing in our fantastic team.

 

 

CSG: Kind Hearts this Valentine’s Day

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 14th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/kind-hearts-this-valentines-day/ 

Whatever happened to Valentine’s Day? Do you remember the special thrill of an unknown admirer professing their anonymous, unrequited affection? Remember how such a simple gesture meant so much more than any flowers or cuddly toy?

This year, CSG decided to make Valentine’s Day mean something more than just cheesy rhymes and sparkly helium balloons by turning it into a fundraising day – with the proceeds going, appropriately, to the British Heart Foundation.

The team at CSG’s Sales Office in Cadishead, near Manchester took part in a ‘wear something red’ dress-down day and were encouraged to channel their inner Mary Berry and bake something suitably themed for a cake sale.

Together, the activities managed to raise £73.22 to donate to a cause that fights one of Britain’s biggest threats to life.

As you know, CSG are no strangers to charitable initiatives and regularly support a variety of causes in a number of ways. Days such as this raise money but also add a sense of fun to the workplace.

To contribute to the British Heart Foundation, go to https://www.bhf.org.uk

CSG: Welcome Aboard, Louis!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on December 13th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/welcome-to-csg-louis/

In October, we were pleased to welcome Louis Spencer to our Sales team at CSG Lanstar at Cadishead, Manchester. A recent Biochemistry graduate of Manchester University, Louis brings a level of technical expertise to our sales function.

Louis’ main responsibilities are outbound sales calls and handling queries from existing customers, combining his knowledge of the chemical processes with the finer points of salesmanship.

“I probably only use my degree knowledge a few times a week but the skills I learned at university have proved most helpful, especially the ability to think analytically”, he explains. He’s engagingly modest about his sales skills but anyone who’s ever worked in outbound sales will know that it’s not something you could ever describe as easy. “Outbound is more challenging’” he agrees “but I find it rewarding when I’m able to help find a solution to a customer’s problem”.

A native of Newbury, Berkshire, Louis chose to stay in Manchester after completing his studies: “I come from a small village in the middle of nowhere so I like the fact there’s lots to do in and around Manchester”. Amongst the ‘lots to do’, he spends lots of spare time sailing, having competed regularly for the University of Manchester Sailing Team.

So, two months in, what are his impressions of working at CSG? “I feel I’ve found my feet now. I like the friendly environment in the office – it’s a good atmosphere. I’d like to continue to improve at what I do and be able to match my more experienced colleagues. I just wish the traffic wasn’t as bad on the way to work every morning!”

If you have a waste collection requirement and you think Louis and his colleagues can help, they’re waiting to hear from you. Give them a call on 0800 116 600.

CSG: iTea and Biscuits

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 8th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/itea-and-biscuits/

As you’ll know if you’re reading this blog, waste matters but at CSG, we also know that so do a few other things, such as being a good neighbour – which has led to yet another example of our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

We were delighted to be involved with an initiative local to our Cadishead site, in which local residents were given the opportunity to get to grips with IT and its many uses. It’s a wonderful idea and it has an equally wonderful name – iTea and Biscuits.

Designed for all ages and abilities, it aims to give people the skills and the confidence to go online, use catch-up TV sites, operate smart devices, exchange email, shop online and much, much more. It’s easy to think of such things as universally available but for a number of people without the most basic IT knowledge to ‘unlock’ the internet, the world can start to become a startlingly unfriendly place. Thankfully, this weekly course, run by the Hamilton Davies Trust is there to change all that and improve the lives of all who attend.

We supplied 3 members of the Cadishead team (Louise Holgate, Peter Chiodo and Sam Bate) to offer their own IT knowledge and experience to the residents on the course – some as old as 90 – which was a task they found to be extremely fulfilling.

It’s a perfect example of how, simply by providing information and a little moral support, we can offer significant benefits to our neighbours in the communities in which we operate.