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Environmental manager: job description

Environmental manager: job description

Environmental managers are responsible for overseeing the environmental performance of private and public sector organisations and for developing, implementing and monitoring environmental strategies that promote sustainable development.
Environmental managers can work for a range of employers, from nuclear decommissioning companies to higher education institutions.

What does an environmental manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Environmental managers advise organisations on how to minimise their impact on the environment. This involves developing schemes for waste management, renewable energy, recycling, pollution reduction and pollution prevention.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • overseeing the use of all resources within organisations
  • implementing environmental policies and practices
  • ensuring compliance with environmental legislation
  • auditing, analysing and collating environmental performance data and reporting information to internal staff, clients and regulatory bodies
  • managing environmental strategy budgets
  • liaising with internal staff including senior managers and directors
  • providing environmental training to staff at all levels
  • managing a team of technical, scientific and engineering staff
  • writing plans and reports
  • keeping up to date with relevant changes in environmental legislation and initiatives including international legislation where applicable
  • producing educational resources
  • liaising with regulatory bodies such as the Environment Agency

Typical employers of environmental managers

Most environmental managers are employed by consultancies, higher education institutions, utilities and civil engineering/construction companies, government agencies, local government departments and processing/manufacturing companies.

As a result of government/international environmental policies there has been, and will continue to be, an expansion in the number of job opportunities within the profession. Vacancies are advertised online, by the Environmentalist Jobs, by careers services, in newspapers, local authority vacancy lists and publications such as New Scientist and Opportunities, plus their online equivalents. Formal graduate recruitment schemes are offered by a small number of companies, most of which provide encouragement and financial support to achieve chartership with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Qualifications and training required

To become an environmental manager it is usually necessary to possess a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in a subject such as energy engineering, environmental health, environmental sciences/management, biosciences, applied science, engineering, or physics. A relevant postgraduate qualification can be advantageous, as can experience of initiating and managing projects and/or supervising others.

Relevant voluntary or paid experience is beneficial, particularly when starting out within the profession. There may be volunteering opportunities within non-governmental organisations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and The Conservation Volunteers. Membership of the IEMA can also be useful.

Key skills for environmental managers

Graduates should be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in and understanding of environmental issues, relevant legislation and renewable energy sources. Candidates should possess confidence, initiative, commercial awareness and excellent IT, organisational, teamworking, project management and communication skills.

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