No time for deliberation

28th August 2015

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Marion Lane

Members should take full advantage of the professional development path laid out by the institute, Tim Balcon says.

You told me when I first joined IEMA that you wanted your institute to have a higher profile and to have greater impact. We are making strong headway but we still have a way to go. But I need you all to do your bit.

The relevance of our profession has never been stronger and more resonant. Our Preparing for the perfect storm report highlighted just how strong is the need for environment and sustainability skills, and will increasingly be. Businesses are buying into the case we are making for a surge in skills, with many using the IEMA skills map to set their standards.

The media is really starting to get the message about the value of your skills. It's genuinely an exciting time, but we are far from achieving the heady heights of our goal.

We are the largest professional body for environment and sustainability professionals but with a large mass of members at Associate level. That is great; it very clearly demonstrates to the wider world that we have a significant number of qualified, skilled, passionate and capable professionals in our midst. However, I believe there is huge potential - massive in fact - in the IEMA membership to have many more members at Full level.

Full membership is not just a "rank", and this isn't part of a cynical push to change the weighting of where the mass of members currently lies. It is about ensuring that every single member gets the professional status, respect and recognition for their skills that they deserve comparable to the universal understanding of senior accountants or engineers.

Full membership is the signifier of someone who has not only gained a wealth of practical and theoretical knowledge, but can match that with experience, leadership capabilities and a track record of influence. From the members I've been lucky enough to meet, the overwhelming majority display these exact qualities but do not possess the professional status reflecting their knowledge, capability and experience.

We are doing our bit to help encourage more to upgrade: we have taken away the fear of the interview, making it a better peer-to-peer experience. With our mentoring service, Associate members are better supported through the process and there is advice and guidance offered all the way by the team here at IEMA.

I realise that even applying for Full membership and preparing yourself for the interview takes time and effort - not forgetting a certain amount of guts - but I sincerely hope that, if you are one of the members I've spoken to who has not yet got around to applying for full membership, you will reconsider. The time has never been more important for qualified environment and sustainability professionals, so let's reposition our influence on business so that together we transform the world to sustainability.

We cannot - individually or collectively - rest on our laurels if we are to achieve our goals. The time is right for us all to up our game so I would really urge you to seize the opportunity to get the marker of your experience.

If you are aiming to upgrade your membership visit to explore the various support options available. Alternatively, call your IEMA professional development adviser Sarah Amos on +44 (0)1522 540069.


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