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Inspiring young talent and growth at Keenan Recycling by Claire Keenan, collections director

As an award-winning commercial food waste collection company, we have experienced significant organic growth through our geographical expansion which has been complemented by the knowledge and experience brought by our young and enthusiastic workforce.

We’re not only passionate about tackling food waste, but also about providing opportunities for young people with a chance to gain valuable business experience in a fast-growing company.  This arrangement works both ways because we can learn a lot from their inquisitive minds too.

Young professionals tend to learn varied skills through courses or day to day use of technology, often bringing a fresh perspective to the business with a knack for implementing different kinds of software and data. We’ve found in recent years that it benefits the business to really harness this skillset and use it to our advantage. This, in turn, offers great business experience for young individuals.

Last year, one of our employees, Georgia Williams, showed a real talent and interest in digital marketing, having already touched on the subject during her BSc Communications and Media Studies degree.

Georgia joined the business in 2019 in a transport administrator role and quickly impressed the wider team with her proactive attitude and strong work ethic, so we were really keen to further invest in her talent and passion.

We’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of a digital presence, with more people going online for information. It helps form trust between clients and offers a much more responsive method of communication through the likes of instant chat functions, and interactions on social platforms.

We spent considerable time looking for the best course to develop Georgia’s knowledge in this area. Thanks to Georgia’s natural ability, she has been able to produce content that is directly relevant to our customer base.

Over the last year, Georgia has been splitting her work responsibilities with studying, undertaking a digital marketing modern apprenticeship through QA, one of the UK’s leading tech skills organisations, and has now transitioned to a full-time digital marketing coordinator role.

In addition to developing and nurturing the talent from within Keenan, we have also established a partnership with RGU, offering various placements and opportunities for those interested in business operations.

During 2020, we provided a placement for student, Katherine Henderson, who joined as part of her third year BA (Hons) Business Management degree.

Katherine has shown an interest in the logistics side of the business and is currently working in a transport administrator role, which requires key skills in not just logistics, but also administration, analytics, communication, and accuracy.

It’s a great source of satisfaction for us to see the development of placement students as they begin to grow in confidence in the workplace. Business degrees are very widespread, so we feel it’s important for students to explore a variety of roles during their time with us. This usually includes internal training mixed with on-the-job learning, which really boosts knowledge and understanding of the work they are doing.

Additionally, two more students from RGU will be joining us this month to help the team on a large scale six-month project which will require strong analytical and research skills from the students, as well as being able to work in a timely and productive manner.

I’m a firm believer that we can learn as much from young professionals and students as they learn from us. Sometimes you need someone to come in fresh to offer a different perspective, and a completely new idea, or way, of doing things.

At Keenan, we’re passionate about continuing to provide more opportunities for young people to help them and our business thrive. At the same time, we’re committed to seeing our own internal employees progress and develop.