Graduate award 2012 now open

12th October 2012

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IEMA is once again looking for the most inspiring early career environment professional to name as the winner of the IEMA graduate award 2012

Each year IEMA, in partnership with sponsor Land Securities, casts a net among its membership and the wider environment profession to find recent environment studies’ graduates who have achieved their first green role and made a real difference to their business.

These individuals may have achieved significant financial savings by applying their recently acquired knowledge to a particular project – notably, reduced carbon emissions through an innovative approach; or effectively engaged stakeholders in their organisation’s environmental strategy.

Whoever they are, IEMA wants to hear about their achievements and how they have transformed their organisation.

The IEMA graduate award aims to find, nurture and promote emerging talent and to help business and the media understand the vital role that environment professionals – of all levels of experience – play in the green economy. Environmental publications and the Guardian newspaper have profiled previous winners and their achievements.

The recipients have often gone on to work with IEMA on other projects, so getting involved can lead to great things beyond the initial prize (see below).

Past winners of the graduate award have come from a wide range of organisations and industries and have included not only graduates starting out in their first job, but also career-changers who came to the environment profession from another sector, and are using the skills developed in other roles to make a difference.

The one thing the winners all have in common is that they have demonstrated exceptional environmental dedication and ability, using their knowledge and talent to create sustainable solutions to their organisations’ unique challenges.

Winning, or even being shortlisted, provides a CV boost for individuals early on in their environment career, and demonstrates that their organisation employs forward-thinking graduates and invests resources in innovative projects.

Last year, IEMA received a record 20 nominations for the award – all of which were of very high quality. The 2011 winner, Heather Poore (pictured above with her award), a youth volunteering project manager at Global Action Plan who graduated with BSc (Hons) in physical geography at the University of Sheffield, was singled out for her exceptional work in helping to turn environmental messages into practical action.

In explaining why she had put Poore forward for the award, her nominator said: “Heather had shown outstanding commitment to inspiring young people to turn environmental messages into action.”

Last year’s judging panel also praised Poore’s “outstanding commitment to inspiring young people” through her work at the behaviour-change charity, saying: “Heather is an outstanding example of how environment graduates are bringing the skills that will embed environmental thinking into business practice.”

Receiving her accolade, Poore said: “The award has been a great experience, especially because it has enabled me to meet other graduates and learn about what they are doing.”

Last year’s runners-up were Charlie Symonds, sustainable development engineer at Stannah Stairlifts, who graduated from Oxford Brookes University, and Laura Duggan, environment executive at George Best Belfast City Airport and a graduate of both Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast.

The judging panel (see below) for the 2012 award is seeking entries from managers, mentors and clients of graduate environment practitioners who have made cost savings, added value and achieved change in their current role. Specifically, the judges will be looking for individuals who have a mixture of the following:

  • they are doing more than just their day-to-day job;
  • they have devised something out of the ordinary;
  • they can demonstrate passion for what they do;
  • they can show measurable results; and
  • they have evidence of providing leadership in their organisation.

Entrants for the awards cannot apply themselves; each entry must come via a nomination from a colleague or client. So if you work with a graduate environmentalist who has made a real difference to your organisation and you think they deserve some recognition for their achievements, then why not nominate them? And don’t worry if they are not already an IEMA member, as they will receive a year’s graduate membership if they win!

The deadline for nominations is 16 November 2012.

To find out more about the IEMA graduate award and how to enter your nomination, visit IEMA's website. If you have any questions about the award email [email protected].

Graduate award prize package

A shortlist of five nominees will be invited to the Sustainability Leaders Awards ceremony, which is organised by and Sustainable Business, on Wednesday 5 December. One will be named as winner and two will be revealed as runners up.

The winner of the IEMA graduate award 2012 will receive a £1,000 cash prize, a trophy and one year’s free IEMA graduate membership. The two runners up will each be awarded a £500 cash prize, together with one year’s free graduate membership of the Institute.

How to nominate a colleague or client

To be eligible for the IEMA graduate award 2012, practitioners must have completed a degree course in an environment-related topic in the past two academic years – they must have graduated since 1 September 2010 – and be nominated by a colleague, manager or client using the forms on IEMA’s website. Detailed evidence must also be submitted to support the nomination, as this is what the judges will use to make their decisions.

Nominees must be available to travel to London on 5 December to attend the award ceremony. Provision towards overnight stay in London will be available if required. The award entry period closes at 5pm on Friday 16 November.

The 2012 graduate award judging panel

Jan Chmiel is IEMA’s chief executive. He has a strong background in building, managing and leading businesses throughout the world in the energy and sustainability sectors. He has held a number of senior roles in several
large international organisations, including Shell, BG Group and the Energy Saving Trust.

Neil Pennell is the head of sustainability and engineering at Land Securities, the UK’s largest quoted property company. He leads a team of specialist engineers and environmental professionals, and his responsibilities include project management of the design, procurement and delivery of building services for the group’s major new development projects.

Will Parsons is a business journalist and managing editor of the water and environment division for Faversham House. He is responsible for a publication portfolio across print, online and live events in the sustainability, water, waste and energy sectors. Titles include the environmental website and Sustainable Business magazine.


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