Press Release
For immediate release

First professionally recognised contractor competency scheme to improve health and safety in the metal recycling sector

The scheme, developed by CIWM in association with BMRA, provides proof of skills, competence and qualifications through recognised credentials.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has today, 21 April, announced the launch of the Metal Recycling Contractor Competency Scheme (MRCCS), designed to provide evidence of individual contractors’ capability and competency, enabling organisations to quickly and easily check that they have the required health, safety and wellbeing skills to work on-site in the metal recycling sector.

Created in association with British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), the scheme is the first of its kind in the sector and will reduce the risk of incidents by improving health and safety skills and awareness.

The competence for MRCCS will be confirmed by a Pearson VUE test and evidenced via CIWM ProFile, a new digital credentials system being developed by CIWM, which allows it to be validated on-demand via a unique QR code. 

A number of multiple-choice questions (MCQ) will ensure the metal recycling workforce are operating safely and employers are able to identify personnel with recognised health and safety skills. There are two MRCCS tests to choose from: the Contractor – Operative test, comprised of 26 questions, or the Contractor – Supervisory test, which is comprised of 40 questions. Contractors are required to take their test every three years to provide continued evidence of competence.

Katie Cockburn, Professional Services Director at CIWM, said: “CIWM is delighted to be able to support businesses, big and small, to ensure contractors have the necessary health, safety and wellbeing skills to work safely whilst on site through our new ProFile digital credential system.

The MRCCS will not only make it much simpler for organisations to complete vital reference checking, but also enable them to recruit and retain employees and make a tangible contribution towards improved health and safety across the sector.”

Antonia Grey, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the BMRA, said: “Having a system in place that allows metals recycling companies to quickly ensure that contractors working on site have the appropriate training and skills is going to be a great add-on to our existing health and safety toolkit. 

This launch is the culmination of many months of hard work, and we are grateful to members who helped us write the syllabus and the question banks. We look forward to working with the team at CIWM to produce the next cards in our sector-specific competency card scheme – the metal recycling operative and the metal recycling manager.”

The MRCCS tests are now available for contractors to book, with the first tests taking place on Tuesday 3 May 2022. Find out more here.


Notes to editors:

1. CIWM: CIWM is the leading professional body for the resource and waste management sector representing over 5,500 individuals in the UK, Ireland and overseas. Established in 1898, CIWM is a non-profit making organisation, dedicated to the promotion of professional competence amongst waste managers. CIWM seeks to raise standards for those working in and with the sector by producing best practice guidance, developing educational and training initiatives, and providing information on key waste-related issues. More information can be found at
2. BMRA: The British Metals Recycling Association represents the £7.5 billion metals recycling sector, which comprises an estimated 2,500 businesses and employs over 15,000 people. The industry trades and processes over 10 million tonnes of ferrous and non-ferrous metals every year, including: steel, aluminium and copper. On average, we export eight million tonnes every year: or 80% of all scrap arisings in the UK.

Scrap metals are secondary raw materials whose use reduces the demand for precious natural resources needed to make new metal compounds – such as iron ore in steelmaking; nickel in stainless steel; or alumina and bauxite in aluminium smelting. 

For example, every tonne of recycled steel saves: 

  • 1.5 tonnes of iron ore 
  • 0.5 tonnes of coal 
  • 70% of the energy 
  • 40% of the water 
  • 75% of CO2 emissions 

The figures for aluminium and copper are even more impressive. The recycling of copper requires up to 85% less energy than primary production. Around the world, this saves 40 million tonnes of CO2. Recycling aluminium uses 95% less energy than producing aluminium from raw materials and saves 97% of greenhouse gas emissions produced in the primary production process.