SWFM-QF Project

Towards a European qualification for Solid Waste Facilities’ Managers

What is SWFM-QF?

The project aims at developing a European qualification and training framework to address the needs of Facilities Managers in the waste management industry. SWFM-QF project is being carried out by a consortium of organisations from across 8 European nations.


The Solid Waste Facilities Manager manages the operations of various Solid Waste Facilities like: Transfer Stations, Waste Recycling Centers, Landfills, Materials Recovery Facilities, Mechanical Biological Treatment Plants, Incinerators and Composting Plants. According to recent studies (ECORYS 2009), waste management is the largest sub-sector of the EU27 eco-industry with a total turnover of €70.5 billion in 2004 and €92.2 billion in 2008. The employment of the sector is estimated at about 845 thousand and 1.467 thousand in respectively 2000 and 2008. Another study (BIO Intelligence Service 2011) concludes that by achieving full implementation of EU waste legislation, the turnover of waste management and recycling would increase by €5 billion per year and over 400,000 jobs would be created within the period 2008-2020. The waste management industry has changed a lot in recent years and continues to develop as new legislation, technologies, and techniques are advanced.

Introducing integrated waste management approach and replacing landfill with other more advanced waste management techniques have influenced decisively the evolution of the sector. As a result, the “new generation” of the waste management facilities are becoming highly technical worksites implementing innovative solutions and a number of processes on one site. This in turns affects the structure of qualifications and the composition of the skills for the professionals in the sector.

Despite the constant increasing need for technically skilled employees to maintain and operate the advanced waste treatment facilities, the qualifications and VET frameworks of Solid Waste Facilities Managers (SWFM) have a diversified structure within the EU states and they are not aligned with EQF and ECVET initiatives.

SWFM-QF intends to cover this gap by developing a common professional qualification framework in line with the directions of the EU policy. The outcome will be a range of standardized profiles suitable for the different levels of SWFM qualifications.