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Competency Framework

Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are required to perform certain activities well and which are critical to success in specific professional roles. Put simply you are competent if you:

  • know what to do;
  • know how to do it;
  • know when to do it;
  • know why you do it;
  • can do it consistently well; and
  • know your limits and when to seek help and advice.

A competency framework describes the different levels of competence across a range of competencies (singular competency) expected of those working in an organisation or particular profession.

The purpose of CIEEM’s Competency Framework is to:

  • specify the levels of competence expected of our members at different professional grades and thereby provide for a competence-based assessment of membership and Chartered Ecologist eligibility;
  • support members in identifying their current and required levels of competence and to plan their continuing professional development (CPD) in order to achieve these new levels;
  • enable the identification of competence-based professional role profiles;
  • support CIEEM’s careers advice and careers guidance; and
  • promote high standards of professional practice.

The Structure of the Competency Framework

The Competency Framework identifies 4 levels of increasing professional competence – Basic, Capable, Accomplished and Authoritative.

Download an overview of the Competence Levels

The Framework also identifies 40 competencies or areas of professional activity. There are 25 technical competencies (i.e. specific to being an ecologist or environmental manager) and 15 transferable competencies (i.e. common to most professionals). For ease these are grouped together into themes (6 technical and 8 transferable themes) but it is the competencies themselves that are the ‘building blocks’ for membership and chartership eligibility and CPD planning.

Technical Themes

  • Surveying
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Policy, Legislation and Standards
  • Scientific Method
  • Education and knowledge exchange

Transferable Themes

  • Professional Conduct
  • Health and Safety
  • Communication
  • Formal Facilitation, Stakeholder Engagement and Partnering
  • Organisational Management
  • Project Management
  • Information Management
  • People Management

It is important to note that the descriptions of what is covered by each competency are necessarily quite general so that members and applicants can apply the Framework to their own work context whether they are working as a land manager, consultant, statutory agency adviser or regulator, policymaker or any other relevant role.

It is for each individual to decide where the competencies appropriate to their work experience ‘fit in’ to the Framework. The Secretariat is able to provide advice and help if required.

Download an overview of the Themes and Competencies

Competency Framework Matrix

The Competency Framework is presented in the form of a matrix in an Excel spreadsheet. The matrix describes what the four different levels of competence look like for each of the 40 competencies. There are two worksheets – one for technical competencies (green) and one for transferable competencies (blue).

Download a copy of the Competency Framework Matrix


We welcome feedback on the content and functionality of the Competency Framework. Please email your comments to