Environment professionals to help UK plc save billions

23rd June 2011

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  • Skills ,
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  • Qualifications



Employing environmental practitioners with the right skills and knowledge could help UK businesses save £55 billion a year, argues the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Environment professionals can not only drive initiatives reducing business costs through improved resource and energy-efficiency, but can also lead organisations to embrace sustainability more strategically, says IEMA.

According to IEMA’s latest survey, those working in environmental roles are highly motivated in their jobs with almost 45% saying they changed careers to make an environmental difference and more than one-third changing sectors to join the profession.

A further 20% report that environment issues became vital to the development of an existing role.

The institute’s broad membership base is bringing a wide range of management and leadership skills to complement their sound environmental knowledge says Claire Lea, IEMA’s director of membership services.

“It is these environmental practitioners who are uniquely positioned to identify opportunities to add value, drive cost savings, and, ultimately, deliver change,” she argues.

Alongside this ever-diversifying membership, there is a rising demand for skilled environmental practitioners. To better enable businesses and individuals to identify the level of environmental knowledge and expertise a role needs, IEMA has created an Environmental Skills Map, a competency framework that which outlines for the first time the career path for environmental practitioners.

The map defines competencies, outlines skills and details the level of knowledge needed by an environmental professional across all levels of responsibility in an organisation.

IEMA’s aim is to provide environmental practitioners, business, recruiters and training providers with structure and clarity.

“Employers are now looking for a broader mix of skills from project management to business case development. This often needs to be partnered with a sound knowledge of environmental legislation, along with an understanding of risk and commercial opportunity,” explains Andrew Tew, a consultant at environmental recruitment specialists Acre Resources.

IEMA member Ian Hill agrees: “As a member of IEMA I have supported the evolution of this framework and I can see the benefits it will bring to corporates,” he said.

“In my own experience a combination of financial, operational and sustainability skills has helped me be more effective as an environmental practitioner.”

To read more about the skills map read Paul Suff’s article from the June issue of the environmentalist.


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