In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week last week, FCC Environment – one of the UK’s leading waste and resource management companies – is shining a light on Sara Afu-Clackett, who started her journey with the organisation as an apprentice in 2018.

During her time as an FCC Environment graduate apprentice, Sara worked across different areas of the business, expanding her knowledge and gaining hands-on experience, before moving into operations as a Support Technician at the Kent Enviropower energy from waste site.

‘I did six months in Weighbridge, working on lorries initially, making sure they ran smoothly,’ Sara explained. ‘Then I did a year in maintenance, learning how to fix things. I’m now in operations, doing checks and assessments, and writing reports of things that need fixing. But my real passion is for learning on the job but also boosting my qualifications to ensure my skills meet the ongoing needs of the business.’

As part of her on-going development and with her love of a challenge, Sara committed herself to furthering her in-role qualifications. During her time as an apprentice with FCC Environment, Sara completed her Level Two course on the Process Operator Apprenticeship scheme and signed up for Level Three to further her development. Sara’s hard work and dedication were recognised in 2019, when she won ‘BTEC Level 2: Top Student’ at the IPS Apprentice of the Year Awards, something which she was immensely proud of.

‘One of my proudest moments was when I won BTEC Level 2: Top Student at the IPS Apprentice of the Year Awards,’ she said. ‘IPS is my college, I go one day a week, and I was nominated by my tutors – it was amazing to have my work recognised. I went to the awards and then came straight into work for a night shift.’

FCC Environment is as committed to retaining its graduate apprentices as it is to recruiting them. At the start of this year, Sara was offered the role of Support Technician at Kent Enviropower, which sees her play a crucial part in the smooth running of operations at the site. Kent Enviropower generates energy from non-hazardous waste, which is used to power the facility as well as supplement the local supply network through the National Grid.

Sara’s passion for the job and her colleagues at Kent Enviropower is evident: ‘I’m one of only two women on shift, but the guys are so helpful. It’s a lovely atmosphere, they look out for me. When I won Apprentice of the Year, they kept clapping whenever I walked into a room, it was funny.’

For those considering an apprenticeship, Sara shares her top piece of advice: ‘Never be afraid to ask questions, and if you’re offered any training opportunities, say yes – it will help you progress, and it’s always interesting to learn new things!’

As one of the UK’s leading waste and resource management companies, FCC Environment provides a range of services, from collecting business and municipal waste to recycling and processing, and the generation of green energy from waste. It employs nearly 2,400 people across the material recycling facilities, EfW plants and landfill sites it operates.

FCC Environment’s Graduate Scheme is an 18-month programme designed to give employees hands-on experience and training across major waste management projects. Graduates are given a mentor to guide them every step of the way and are awarded qualifications in accordance with their specific role.