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Initiatives and Case Studies

Circular Economy Skills Initiative

The new ‘Circular Economy Skills Initiative’ (CESI) course aims to train technicians to ensure thousands of washing machines, fridges and dishwashers are given a new lease of life across the country. WEEE Ireland, the White Goods Association and technical training agency FIT (FastTrack to Information Technology) joined forces to create this innovative curriculum and career pathway.

WEEE Ireland Initiative / WEEE Ireland & Partners / Other Large Equipment / Repair

Key Findings

 

  • Major shortage of repair technicians, whose average age is now 59 
  • 12 trainees enrolled in the 2021/2022 pilot programme 
  • 20 brands involved 
  • €138,000 funded through the  CIRCULÉIRE Innovation Fund

Impact

Appliances sent for repair (2021/2022) 45
Participants trained (2021/2022) 12

Summary

The pilot programme began in November 2021 in partnership with leading manufacturers. It trains and equips trainees to pursue quality employment and professional careers in the maintenance, repair, and reuse of white goods. The course is running with the support of Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) in FIT’s state-of-the-art centre in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath. It is free of charge for trainees, supported by a grant from the CIRCULÉIRE Innovation Fund*, a publicly funded circular economy initiative.  

Trainees are attending the full time course over 26 weeks, followed by 12 weeks’ guaranteed work placement with leading white goods industry supporters of the programme : The CESI Innovation Project is supported by Producers of key brands including Beko, Belling, Blomberg, Bosch, Candy, Haier, Hoover, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Flavel, Grundig, Hotpoint, Leisure, Indesit, Miele, Neff, NordMende, Servis, Siemens and Whirlpool. 

The course is an industry-led project where participants learn about Ireland’s e-waste challenge, the WEEE system and Circular Economy theory as part of their curriculum.

 

Qualified repair technicians are vital to ensuring more reuse, repair and refurbishment of white goods in Ireland to extend their life-cycle – in turn minimising waste and saving resources. In 2020, WEEE Ireland recycled over 470,000 white goods appliances – but no Irish training programme for the next generation of repair technicians has been available for a decade. 

The value of repair and reuse is proven in research by European home appliance association APPLiA, which found that 91% of requests to manufacturers for product fixes in 2018 resulted in an actual repair, keeping these appliances in use for much longer. 

FIT is committed to rolling out further programmes responding to emerging Circular Economy skills needs in collaboration with Education and Training Boards (ETB) and the industry in Ireland to address the growing need for such expertise. 

  

*The CESI Innovation project is proudly supported by a grant from the CIRCULÉIRE Innovation Fund. CIRCULÉIRE is a public-private partnership created by Irish Manufacturing Research and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and EIT Climate-KIC with 25 Founding Industry Members including WEEE Ireland. 

For More Information

Links:
WEEE Ireland Press Release on the visit of Junior Minister Ossian Smyth 
More on the CESI Programme on FIT’s website

If you have any questions about CESI, please email the Compliance Team at info@weeeireland.ie