Ecological Skills Project
Ecological Skills: Shaping the Profession for the 21st Century
This recently published research report highlights some critical gaps in ecological knowledge and skills amongst practising ecologists and environmental managers. The evidence for an ecological skills gap is compelling and alarming at a time when the demand for knowledge and skills in ecology and environmental management has never been more urgent. Government science has established how our health, well-being and prosperity depend on our natural capital. Concerns over food security, clean water, Common Agricultural Policy, agri-environment schemes, Common Fisheries Policy and the plight of fish stocks, compliance with EU environmental directives, and the need to grow a low carbon economy are urgent drivers for a change in the way we impact on nature, and with it our own wellbeing.
At a time when arguably the demand for ecological skills and knowledge has never been greater, some skills are in decline, undermining the implementation of key policy and our capacity to protect our environment and our future. CIEEM will be using the findings of the research to launch a campaign for a coherent and focused strategy to close the skills gap as part of future-proofing the long term path to environmental sustainability.
Higher Education Accreditation
There are currently over 270 undergraduate courses and over 90 postgraduate courses containing ecological content in the UK.
In recent years CIEEM has received a number of requests from higher education institutions (HEIs) to accredit relevant degree programmes. Such accreditation was seen as a low priority for the Institute but a number of factors have now changed that view.
Firstly, a number of HEIs still approach CIEEM for accreditation despite other accreditation schemes being available to them.
Secondly, one of the recommendations of the Ecological Skills research project report, Ecological Skills: Shaping the Profession in the 21st Century, was for the Institute to develop higher education accreditation as a means of ensuring that graduates seeking to enter the profession have the knowledge and skills that employers need.
Thirdly, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the current uncertainties and changes in higher education are placing pressure on the degree programmes that the Institute would want to see being offered to potential students.
It is against this background that Council approved a pilot project in 2011-12 to test the feasibility and to develop a suitable methodology for offering higher education accreditation. This work is currently still ongoing...