Senior members offer career advice

11th February 2016

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Axel Michaelsen

The start of a new year is traditionally when people look to change careers or plot how they might secure a promotion.

With this in mind, experienced IEMA members have offered their advice to those who are thinking of moving into an environment and sustainability role or who want to take on more responsibility.

Doing voluntary work or serving as an intern in industry and studying for an environment or sustainability related degree are among the top tips from senior members on what a new graduate or a career changer would need to do to get their foot on the career ladder. Practitioners also recommend getting relevant professional qualifications, such as the IEMA Associate certificate. Indeed, a growing number of organisations, such as Network Rail (see the environmentalist training supplement, December 2014), stipulate that candidates must have IEMA membership or an equivalent for many environment and sustainbility posts.

Respondents also said individuals new to the profession and those wanting to advance their environment and sustainability careers should consult the IEMA skills map, which gives users a clear idea of the skills and knowledge expected in specific roles. Another piece of advice is to ask someone in a role similar to one sought to be a mentor to help enhance their skills, knowledge or performance in specific areas.

‘There is no better careers advice than the kind offered by people who actually do the job, so these tips are hugely valuable to school leavers and career changers,’ said IEMA chief executive Tim Balcon. ‘What members have offered here is real-life guidance that mixes the vocational and the academic routes into the profession and I would like to see the membership own these top tips and share them far and wide.’

The recommendations were outlined in responses by senior IEMA members to the institute’s 2015 practitioner survey.

Getting ahead in your environment career:

  • Do voluntary experience or an internship in the industry or a sector you want to work in.
  • Study for an environment or sustainability related degree.
  • Get the right qualifications, such as the IEMA Associate certificate.
  • Look at your existing transferable skills and assess what kind of role would best suit you.
  • Seek mentoring from someone already doing the job you want.
  • Use IEMA's environment skills map to plot your career path.
  • Network, network and keep networking!


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