Professional recognition for environmental technicians

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A new scheme recognising the technical competence of environmental technicians should help plug a growing skills gap in the fast-growing profession

A new professional register for environmental technicians has been launched to boost the profile and status of the vital work they do. The register of registered environmental technicians (REnvTech) was set up by the Society for the Environment (SocEnv).

It follows a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in 2009 which highlighted emergence of an alarming skills gap in the profession, and a subsequent call for greater recognition of their status in the workforce by the Technicians Council.

A key finding of the report was that far greater numbers will need to be attracted into training to meet the projected demand for 450,000 new environmental technicians by 2020 to underpin a growing innovation economy.

The new REnvTech qualification “recognises the value and importance of technicians in sectors such as energy generation, water management, manufacturing, the built environment and agriculture”, says SocEnv. It adds that REnvTech qualification is about “having the professional knowledge, experience and commitment to apply sustainable thinking throughout your daily working life”.

The qualification’s competences are also applicable across many sectors, it stresses.

To gain REnvTech status, applicants need first to contact their professional institution. If it is licensed by SocEnv to do so, it can provide the necessary application forms.

Apart from professional membership, applicants need knowledge understanding and skills equivalent to at least Level 3 in the Qualifications and Credit Framework of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (2013). This must be accompanied by at least two years of relevant practical experience and background environmental knowledge that has demonstrably been applied.

Commenting on the scheme, Professor Carolyn Roberts, past chair of SocEnv, said: “I am very pleased that Society for the Environment is working alongside the Engineering Council, the Science Council and other professional organisations, to provide a framework for training for technicians. All the evidence suggests that lack of technical capacity is a key challenge for the UK economy.”

She added: “This new qualification should assist individuals to achieve recognition for their environmentally-related skills, and for employers to be certain that their staff understand the value of professional development.”

Further information is available on the SocEnv website.