Over 200 attend parliamentary launch of IEMA skills campaign

11th December 2014


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  • Training ,
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  • Qualifications ,
  • Skills

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Alessandra Rodari

More than 200 environmental and sustainability professionals attended the official launch of IEMA's skills campaign at the House of Commons.

At the event yesterday, IEMA chief executive Tim Balcon called on the government and businesses to improve sustainability skills across the UK economy, after its survey found that only 13% of organisations are fully confident that they have the skills to compete in a sustainable economy.

This skills gap is limiting the ability of businesses and organisations to capitalise on the economic opportunities of being more sustainable, he said. Research by IEMA earlier this year showed that businesses could save between £5,000 to more than £1 million a year, depending on their size and sector, through more efficient use of resources.

IEMA has issued a four-point action plan on skills:

  • Place sustainability at the heart of business strategy
  • Integrate sustainability skills into the centre of all organisations
  • Make sustainability mainstream through training and education
  • Embed sustainability across the economy, encouraged by government commitment to a skills strategy

“Good quality people and their skills are the change makers – which is why it’s vital that sustainability skills become pivotal to the operations of an organisation,” said Balcon.

The event was hosted by Joan Walley MP, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, and sponsored by the construction business, Wilmott Dixon. Rob Lambe, managing director at Wlimott Dixon, told leading figures from environmental consultancies, engineering companies and commercial businesses, that improving skills is vital if companies are going to benefit from the opportunities emerging from sustainable business practices.

Lambe highlighted the construction industry’s Supply Chain Sustainability School, a virtual learning environment launched in 2012, which aims to help construction suppliers and subcontractors develop their sustainability knowledge and competence, to show how the construction industry is working to close the sustainability skills gap.

Meanwhile, the business department (BIS) has announced that it will establish a skills centre for the wind industry in the Humber area. The National College for Wind Energy is expected to open in late 2016, and will award students with professional qualifications, as well as running bespoke programmes sponsored by employers.


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