Scrap University aims to upgrade industry training, with support from SciAps

April 16, 2021

Kate Fraser and Brad Rudover are working to upgrade the scrap industry by sharing knowledge and experiences through Scrap University. SciAps joins them as a contributing consultant and partner.
Kate started at ABC recycling in 2008 as a receptionist, where she was taking copious notes right from the start. “I asked a lot of questions. I found the industry fascinating and just wanted to learn as much as possible,” she says. From there she moved over to dispatch and scale coverage at the head office, where she eventually worked her way into implementing the Scrap Dragon Recycling Software before moving over to Sims Metal Management in 2013. At Sims, she started as the operations analyst but found herself in the unique position of running the overall shredder facility.Throughout her experiences, Kate discovered that, across different scrapyards and departments, information and terms were varied, even when operators were talking about the same thing. There was no official training program for new hires. She also saw that employees in each department need, and deserve, a full-scope understanding of the commodities for the industry.Brad comes from a family scrap business in Detroit. He moved to the west coast after college to join another family scrap business in Vancouver. His academic approach to the industry provided the opportunity to learn all aspects from buying, processing, and selling.  This knowledge was enhanced through volunteer roles within CARI and ISRI which ultimately led to a career with Sims, the largest scrap company on the planet. As his breadth of knowledge grew, he recognized the lack of metal identification training and started putting together the framework for what has now become the Certified Scrap Metal Professional (CSMP) program offered at Scrap University. Through their mutual appreciation of both the opportunities and frustrations of the scrap industry, Kate and Brad began discussing how they could support business through their combined knowledge and experiences. They wanted to stop the high employee turnover in the industry and increase the functionality of scrapyards. They faced two major obstacles. The biggest was the “old-school method” of doing business. From the owners down to the scrapyard gurus, no one wanted to share knowledge, procedures, and buying and selling practices, leaving the new hires to figure it out on their own. The other obstacle was that scrapyards were already making money. Why would they want to change what’s working? But Kate and Brad saw what could be gained by looking beyond the simple buy-and-sell proposition, including taking advantage of emerging technology. For example, if you’re not using an analyzer that can help you earn the price difference between 304 and 316 stainless, then you're missing out. “I’ve always been on the look out for the cool stuff coming out of the instrumentation companies. We want to work with SciAps because their analyzers offer this kind of edge,” Brad says. Kate and Brad also know that in order to stay relevant in the scrap business, you need to commit to being a forever student. “Things change so quickly that you fall behind if you are not constantly learning and keeping up with the new technology,” Brad says. In order to create the space for learning, Brad had to convince scrapyards to reverse the normal way of doing business: “Old school is about holding your cards close to your chest and never revealing any information and never trying to help anybody. That way of negotiating has to go. With Scrap University, we are proposing a cooperative way of doing business,” says Brad. “With our model, we can help other people to improve how they’re buying and selling and making money. ”Kate and Brad believe that everyone in every organization should know as much as they can about their business, not just their own job, but the whole picture. That approach keeps small businesses innovative, while in big organizations, people do one job and that’s it. When employees know more, not only does it improve the company, but it also improves how employees feel about their jobs. With Scrap University, they want to help people build their careers. “Even if one person increases their knowledge, income, or career trajectory, then I know I’ve done my job,” Brad says. SciAps is proud to be a contributing consultant and partner in Scrap University. “We provide our customers with the most advanced instruments so that they can work with confidence. Brad and Kate help them become master operators of those instruments. Everybody wins,” says Don Sackett, CEO and co-founder of SciAps.

› Read more: "An Academic Approach," Recycling Today June 2021› Read more: "One Big, Happy Scrap Family," ISRI, Scrap University, SciAps partnership› Read more: "Grading Aluminum," Scrap University with X-550

Scrap University offers an official training for new hires and full-scope understanding of commodities to support better decisions by all operators. The program follows ISRI specifications, and is recognized by industry leaders.

Training includes:

•    Introduction to Scrap Metal Recycling

•    Tools & Machinery

•    ISRI Specifications

•    Ferrous Grades

•    Non-Ferrous Grades

•    Shredder Grades

•    Upgrade Opportunities After completing this course, you or your employee(s) will receive a
 Certified Scrap Metal Professional (CSMP) designation.

For course content and orientation videos, visit Scrap University on YouTube.

Some feedback from graduates of Scrap University:

“I’ve only been in the scrap game for about a year and Scrap U was the glue to bringing everything that I had learned from my boss/mentor.”“The knowledge Scrap U has provided hasn’t only helped me in the yard but all around helped me understand how the scrap industry works.”“Scrap U breaks it down—from what it looks like dirty, to how it should look clean; from a possible upgrade to what might downgrade your package.”“I started off stripping wire only on the weekends, now I’m team lead. I’m in charge of running quality control on packages, putting outbound loads together, and the scale operator. I can differentiate between metals based on color, weight, and even by how it sounds being dropped.”

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