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#CEnvHour | The Answers to Your Questions Submitted on LinkedIn

As part of #iamCEnv, we hosted two opportunities for aspiring Chartered Environmentalists to ask an expert panel anything they wanted – within reason! This hour on LinkedIn & Twitter was dubbed – #CEnvHour.

As social media is generally instantaneous, with content disappearing from feeds within a day or so, we wanted to create some longevity to the questions and answers posted by sharing them on our website. So, if you missed it, here it is again!

As a reminder, our panel included:

  • CEnv Assessor – Rob Bradley CEnv (Assessor for and registered via Institute of Water)
  • Recently registered CEnv – James Hicks CEnv (registered via CIEEM)
  • Licensed Member Membership Representative – Barbara Orth (CIWEM)
  • SocEnv Chief Executive – Dr Emma Wilcox


#CEnvHour Q&A on LinkedIn

Q: Can you undertake your CEnv interview remotely?

Rob: This is a really relevant question! In 2020, we began to do remote interviews out of necessity, which was tricky to start with, but once we did a separate systems test and ID check, went really well. Some platforms allow both recording and speech to text capture which actually really helps write up the assessment reports. We are likely to use some of these recordings to train future assessors as well as ‘demystify’ the PRI experience for future candidates.

Barbara: Given the current climate, CIWEM has now moved into a position where we conduct all interviews remotely – it seems to be working well so far!

Emma: The Society for the Environment now complete licence reviews of our Licensed Members (24 professional bodies) remotely. Great for our Pledge to Net Zero.


Q: What jobs do CEnv registrants in your profession typically do?

James: CEnv members of Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) can be:

  • Ecologists
  • environment managers
  • consultants
  • countryside rangers
  • conservationists
  • researchers and academics…

The list is pretty extensive!

Rob: The great thing about this registration is the breadth of people and roles it can apply to across the water industry. For example, in the Scottish Area of the Institute of Water, we have Project Managers, Customer Support Managers, GIS and spatial specialists together with Managing Directors who hold CEnv. In many cases, we advocate CEnv to those who do not neatly find themselves in pure engineering or science roles.


Q: How long does the assessment process take?

Barbara: At CIWEM it takes around 4 months from the time of submission to obtaining CEnv – this includes the assessment of the written submission and professional interview.

James: I found the assessment process was fairly quick and straight forward. I submitted my application in September, had an interview in December and got my result within 2 weeks (including the Xmas break!). The actual interview part was 1.5-2 hrs for me, but it actually felt much shorter!


Q: I am a 2nd year PhD student in Sustainable Environment and I have Masters degree in Environmental Engineering. I had about 2 years teaching experience. Can I apply for CEnv? If not, what things do I need to add to my profile?

Rob: Thank you for your question. Looking at your academic experience, it is likely that you do meet those qualifications. However, the standard is a blend of experience, knowledge and practice, so you will need to be affiliated with a Licensed Member to apply.

Emma: To become a CEnv you need to meet a number of professional competences which are generally developed through a combination of education and work experience. If you take a look at the competences on our website and feel that you fulfil these competences, then the next step is to check that you are a member of one of the 24 Professional Bodies that we license to award CEnv. If you fulfil this criteria, you should then contact your professional body to discuss further and they can provide support and guidance should you decide to go ahead with the CEnv application. Good luck!


Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for CEnv?

Barbara: Don’t think, do! 🙂 The process is not as daunting as it may seem at first glance and the benefits make it worth it!

Rob: My favourite question! Firstly, find out who your most relevant Licensed Member Body is and there are currently 24 to choose from. Then ask their membership or registration support teams for help with finding the forms etc. The next bit is where the fun starts – where you begin to write about yourself and your experience in a way which gives you and your audience a unique insight into how great you really are. Unlike a job application, this work you will do is always going to be relevant and stands alone in your professional career as the point where you stopped thinking about what you could do and did it!

James: Talk to people you know that have gone through the process. Also don’t be afraid or daunted by the process; I know I was worried by the idea of the interview, as I thought it would be a grilling, but it was actually really enjoyable and felt more like a friendly conversation.


Q: What makes a good CEnv application?

Rob: There are two key elements – evidence of competence in relation to experience and passion for wanting to achieve the result.

Barbara: What Rob said is absolutely key – from a procedural point of view, I think it’s important to familiarise oneself with the chosen licensed institution’s requirements and being confident that the application ticks all the boxes prior to submission.


Q: What is the role of the sponsor in my application?

James: Each application must have two sponsors. These are people – ideally Chartered Environmentalists – that are able to validate the answers you present in your application.

Barbara: A sponsor is important since they not only vouch for the candidate’s professional competence but, having already obtained CEnv, they can guide the candidate through their application – hopefully with a positive outcome!

Rob: Sponsors are important for a number of valid reasons; the process is peer reviewed so Licensed Members can ensure that standards are being met prior to application. Equally, having continuity and keeping up to date amongst our community is an important part of what makes Chartership sought after, so a sponsor’s endorsement helps prove their own validity. Then from a Licensed Member (such as the Institute of Water) perspective, the more often a sponsor is noticed, then they can be in a pool of future assessors!


Q: Do you need a Masters degree to be eligible for CEnv?

Rob: This was once a requirement, with the need to do a ‘Masters Equivalent Report’ if a candidate did not have such a degree. However, the most recent iteration of CEnv Practice Direction 5.0 (April 2019), now states that “candidates have acquired a level of knowledge equivalent to a Master’s level degree. The equivalent level of knowledge will be determined by the Licensed Body;’. So the simple answer is ask your Licensed Member Body how best you intend to prove your level of knowledge as a starting point and enlist a sponsor to help guide your application!

Emma: We are looking for Masters level knowledge – not necessarily a Masters degree. As Rob says, speak to the Professional Body you plan to apply through or reach out to us at SocEnv HQ and we can get you some support.


Q: What do you look for as an assessor?

Rob: Some candidates have trouble writing what they mean clearly and so need the interview to allow them to express themselves verbally with reference to the reports. So, the willingness to engage with the assessment team, which, as we are now doing this remotely more, is often tricky to convey with the cameras. Once the initial questions are out the way and everyone is settled, then many candidates don’t notice the time pass as we have an extended conversation rather than confrontation.


Q: Time for one last question for Sarah controlling the SocEnv LinkedIn account – where can people find more support?

Sarah: Aspiring Chartered Environmentalists can access support and guidance via their professional body (see the full list of those licensed to award CEnv) or contact SocEnv at any time – we are a friendly team ready to help!