I’ve spent that last 4 months working towards putting together an application to become a Full Member of IEMA and a Chartered Environmentalist.
This has been the main focus of my career progression this year and I am glad I have had it to focus on and prepare for.
“The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is the professional membership body for promoting best practice standards in environmental management, auditing and assessment for all industry sectors.” (IEMA, 2012)
I currently hold Associate level membership, after taking the Certificate in Environmental Management while a student member back in 2007.
To become a full member I have to have had 3 years work experience working in the environmental field. Whereas to become a Chartered Environmentalist as well I needed 4 years experience and 4 full time years of studying. From August/September 2012 I met the criteria to make a dual application.
In order to prepare myself and my application submission I applied to take part in the IEMA Mentoring Scheme. I have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic mentor who has been supportive and honest. I was not sure whether to make a dual application, but she gave me the confidence to have the belief in myself.
I have had to write two essays for my application. One was on my career, which basically meant a descriptive CV. I enjoyed writing this as it was already planned in the form of my CV and I got to add the details of key achievements and explanations for why I chose the career path I have. This was also a good confidence booster for getting the application ready. It reminded me of everything I have achieved, as well as areas that have been challenging and I have moved forward from. It is also a good recap for job applications and interview preparation.
The second essay was an in depth discussion of projects I have lead over my career. This was one was harder to write than the first to begin with, but once I got into the zone I realised I was writing about things I have done and why. There is no right or wrong answers to these types of essays as long as it is your own work. I chose the three big projects I have led within my current role, which I felt could be matched against the criteria set for being a Chartered Environmentalist. I enjoyed going back through my work and remembering how much I have learnt.
My mentor was a great help with finalising these essays. She would read them and give feedback on where I needed to explain certain things further to make sure the readers will understand. She also gave me the confidence to be honest. As I had to get two witnesses to sign off on my essays to prove they contain the truth I was worried about being honest. However it was about being honest professionally with regards to barriers to my work and how I overcame them or not in some cases.
Although I’m thinking of a turn on my career path I do not want to let go of all I have learnt. I truly believe that in order for businesses to survive in the future they will have to be sustainable and that the environmental impacts of their activities will be fully transparent and everyone will be accountable for their actions.
This has been a challenging exercise for me. Having the belief in myself that I have enough knowledge and experience is extremely difficult. It has reignited my passion for the topic of sustainability that I thought had all but disappeared in the last year or so. I have kept working and believing that I can, do and have reached a point where my application is ready to be put in the post!
Now is a waiting period. IEMA will review my application and assess whether it meets the criteria to be put forward for the interview stage.
I truly hope I am successful, but with all things like job interviews and exams, there is a side of me that worries I will fail. I know this is something I have been working for and I know that I still have a long career ahead of me, so if this is not the right time for me to progress to this level yet I will continue to work towards it. It has been a great focus for the last few months while the job has been slow and life hasn’t felt like it has been moving anywhere. I know this is what I want and I want my life and lifestyle to follow a sustainable way of thinking and living.