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13th December 2019

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Michael Chard

IEMA's growth rate since I joined as operations director in June has, for the best of reasons, restricted the time available for musing on the outside world.

One message has got through loud and clear, though: public demonstrations have a valuable role to play in raising profile, showing politicians, policymakers, businesspeople and the public that issues must be added to agendas if we are to effect change. However, it does not matter how well-intentioned a demonstration is – it will not solve the problem alone. Politicians canvassing on the doorstep may encounter single-issue concerns such as flooding or plastics but, while this adds to the creation of a mandate, it demands solutions, rather than offering them. After all, demonstrations are not actions. Actions are provided by people with the relevant knowledge and skills to deliver the change that is required. That's where IEMA members come in.

It should come as no surprise that the increasingly strong mandate for change has translated into increasingly strong growth for IEMA's membership, and growing demand for our courses and training. This year we have trained people in 35 countries, and nearly 40 universities now have accredited courses. More and more corporates and public sector bodies are collaborating with us under our Partnership Programme schemes to deliver initiatives and training, in order to upskill workforces as the cry for change gets ever louder.

“The increasingly strong mandate for change has translated into increasingly strong growth for IEMA's membership“

What has been most pleasing for me personally during the past couple of months, in my current role as interim chief executive, has been encountering the passion and enthusiasm of our members – especially those who are at the outset of their careers. This was shown by the 100 attendees at the IEMA Futures event in Salford, the focused commitment from young people at the NUS SOS Awards and workshop, the young professionals who arranged the inaugural Birmingham City IEMA Regional Hub Event, the hundreds of students who visited our stand at university careers fairs throughout the autumn, and the dedication of 40 young professionals who gave up their Saturday to join the Global Environmental and Social Assessment Group workshop.

These are the people who will not just drive the change we need, but will also deliver it – leaving me with ever-increasing confidence for both the future of our profession and the impactful delivery of IEMA's vision.


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