Professional development

17th March 2014

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  • Skills ,
  • Training ,
  • CPD ,
  • Qualifications ,
  • Ethics


Jonathan Hall

IEMA's 2014 practitioners' survey gives an overview of practitioners professional development activities

Keeping their knowledge and competence up to date is a priority for the vast majority of IEMA practitioners. Around 90% of those taking part in the 2014 survey took part in some form of professional training in 2013. The types of professional development ranged from informal activities, such as free webinars, to more formal training, including academic or vocational courses. On average, IEMA members participated in at least three different forms of continuing professional development (CPD) during the year.

The most popular ways to keep knowledge and skills up to date are by reading key materials (53% of respondents), followed by participating in in-house training (49.1%). Taking part in IEMA webinars and attending other events, conferences or training courses are also common ways for environment professionals to hone their skills and knowledge. Attending academic or vocational courses (figure 11) are less popular CPD approaches.

As figure 12 shows, the key motivation behind undertaking professional training for environment practitioners is to develop knowledge and skills in their current role (47.2% of respondents).

For the 10% of environment practitioners who did not participate in any professional training in 2013, the three most common reasons for not doing so were a lack of time (35.9%), a lack of budget (16.4%) and an absence of opportunity (15.9%).

The poll also asked respondents if their employer provides financial support for CPD. Two respondents in three (64.8%) report that their employer paid the full cost of their CPD activities, while almost one practitioner in five (18.1%) funded their own development. Most of the remaining practitioners shared the cost of professional training with their employer in 2013.

The 2014 survey investigated the level of financial support provided by employers to practitioners for their professional activities. In the case of their IEMA membership subscription, 30.1% of employed practitioners pay their own subscription fee, while 36.1% pay the subscription and receive a full refund from their employer at a later date. In a further 31.1% of cases, the employer pays the member’s full subscription costs directly to the Institute.

Figure 13 reveals the extent to which IEMA members’ job role changed in the previous 12 months. The findings show that almost two-thirds of respondents (64.6%) remain in the same role in the same organisation, while 13.9% of practitioners are now in a more senior role in the same organisation. Just 13% of respondents moved to a different organisation during 2013, with the overwhelming majority of these individuals having switched to a more senior or equally senior role.

A high proportion of practitioners (41.7%) taking part in the survey consider themselves to be a “career changer” – that is, they began their working life in another industry or profession and subsequently switched to an environment or sustainability role. Among these 878 IEMA members, the primary motivation to change careers was a personal interest in the subject area. Another strong impetus was that the environment and/or sustainability had become vital to the development of an existing role.

The overwhelming majority of professionals who have developed a new career in the field are pleased with the outcome – three-quarters (76.8%) of this cohort are either satisfied or very satisfied with their environment career.

Read the full survey results:

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