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IEMA environmental skills map will help HR pick training interventions

I came across recent research from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) showing more recruits are hoping to work in environmental roles in business.

Its June survey found 88% of employees experiencing high satisfaction levels after changing to an environmental career. Nearly 45% had made the career change either to make an environmental difference or because they have a personal interest in the subject. A further 20% said the area had become vital to the development of an existing role.

IEMA has launched a skills map that offers HRDs a framework to recruit, train and engage staff in environmental roles.

The initiative is appropriate in many ways, not least because the green economy is seen as a platform to kick-start growth, but also because UK plc needs to meet carbon reduction targets.

Defra conservatively estimated the UK would save £23 billion per annum through implementing no-cost/low-cost energy resource and waste-efficient measures.

A key challenge to organisations is how to equip their workforce with the skills required to reduce their environmental impact. IEMA claims its skills map will bridge that gap by defining the knowledge and skills required to become an environmental practitioner - one who works to deliver cost savings and environmental improvements.

Caroline Parsons, HR manager in Balfour Beatty's sustainability working group, is convinced. Like many large private sector firms in the construction industry, Balfour Beatty takes its commitments in this area seriously. By 2020, it wants sustainability to be embedded in everything it does. Parsons says that means all parts of the business are 'focused on the challenge - from marketing and bid teams, project management and design through to service delivery and procurement, finance and human resources.'

She said: "Balfour Beatty employs more than 50 environmental and sustainability practitioners in the UK. The launch of the IEMA skills map is timely. It will help us to develop environmental talent."

Another advocate of the skills map is EEF, the trade association for UK manufacturing. Malcolm Bland, its head of professional development said: "By using the skills map, HR professionals will be able to identify effective training interventions and retain the best of what the environmental profession has to offer."