REnvTech Q&A | The first REnvTech registrants via the IES
Original source: the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)
This summer, the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) launched a new environmental designation for its members, Registered Environmental Technician (REnvTech) through the Society for the Environment.
The award is open to technicians and technical staff working across the breadth of environmental science, whether that be in academia, government, consultancy or industry, to highlight professional attainment and technical expertise. In return, REnvTech members are given recognition, support and opportunities to help them thrive in their career.
Earlier this month, the IES confirmed its first two Registered Environmental Technicians, Mark Lane and Daniel Struggles, after they demonstrated their understanding of the environment and its relation to sustainability, active support for sustainable management, effective communication and interpersonal skills, and personal commitment to professional standards.
New REnvTech registrants
Daniel Struggles REnvTech is an Assistant Environmental Consultant at Sweco in Edinburgh. Predominantly working on contaminated land and redevelopment, having gained experience on numerous projects, some of his responsibilities include running site investigations, site remediation supervision, quantitative risk assessments and writing desk studies. Daniel joined the IES as an Associate Member in January 2014 and was awarded the status of Registered Environmental Technician in October.
Mark Lane REnvTech works as a Graduate Consultant at Sweco and is based within their remediation team in Edinburgh. His role involves maintaining a site presence on large-scale ground improvement projects, and managing contractors during site investigations and construction to ensure potentially contaminated land is suitably analysed and remedial works are completed to specification. Having joined the IES this year as an Associate Member, Mark became a Registered Environmental Technician in October.
With both members belonging to the same team, we asked them a few questions to get to know a little bit more about them, their careers, background, technical expertise and ambitions.
How did you both progress to your current positions?
Mark – I studied Geology at the University of Edinburgh and after graduating I initially pursued a career in mineral exploration in South-West Scotland, namely coking coal. I subsequently used that experience to join REC Ltd. where I worked as both a contractor and a consultant on projects such as the A96 Dualling scheme and numerous wind farm projects where I also worked with my current employer Sweco. Sweco took me on as a graduate and I have been part of their team ever since.
Daniel – I graduated from Lancaster University with a BSc (Hons) in Earth and Environmental Science after which I worked for a specialist geological engineering consultancy for 12 months before completing an MSc in Engineering Geology at Leeds University. Upon completing the course, I joined Sweco (then Grontmij) in 2013 and have currently been working with the company for 5 years.
What key technical expertise have you each honed throughout your career?
Mark – Through my career so far, I have honed the ability to assess a site ready for development to environmental standards and gauge, through historical assessment, the impact of previous industry on the site, the impact to users on and adjacent to the site, and the impact to the environment on and surrounding the site. By assessing the potential impact of historical industrial users on the site, I am then able to recommend a suitable site investigation to establish the extent of contamination and impact to the site, and subsequently assist in designing remedial measures to ensure the site is suitable for future users, reducing the impact on the local environment.
Daniel – Throughout my career, I have gained experience in planning, supervising and accessing information from Site investigations in order to conduct contaminated land risk assessments in line with Part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and associated Contaminated Land Guidance and Regulations. I have also gained experience in constructing and developing Conceptual Site Models, which use the concept of significant pollutant linkages to establish where known sources of contamination pose a risk to a receptor through environmental pathways, as well as working with numerous stakeholders as a lead engineer on-site investigations and as an NEC3 supervisor for remediation works.
Do you have any further career goals or ambitions?
Mark – I aim to reach a senior position in the future (as a graduate that’s a while away yet) and I hope to gain my chartered status over the next few years.
Daniel – Yes, I am hoping to gain more experience by taking an increasing role in leading site investigation and remediation projects. Within the next few years I am hoping to apply to become a Chartered Scientist through the Institution of Environmental Sciences.
Why did you choose to apply for REnvTech?
Mark – As soon as the technician designation was made available, my Technical Manager, Alan Shepherd, made me aware of the opportunity and the benefits to my career, so I applied. As a Registered Environmental Technician, it gives me the opportunity to be recognised as a professional who is committed to a high standard of environmental awareness and self-improvement, which benefits both myself and Sweco.
Daniel – I felt that the process would provide me with valuable experience and understanding in preparation for applying for chartership in a few years’ time. In addition, I felt it was an important recognition of the knowledge I have gained through my career to date.
What role do you think technicians play within the environmental sector?
Mark – Within the environmental sector, I think technicians are a key aspect that links the theoretical design and development work with the practical involvement and investigation required on site. Technicians are a point of data gathering and communication between a wide variety of interested parties, from clients to contractors. The dialogue between the on-site presence of a technician and the client is key to successful projects.
Daniel – I think it is important that technicians actively support and develop sustainable practices within their industry to continually reduce our impact on the wider environment. For example, I understand that, in my role as an environmental consultant, I help reduce environmental damage through wasteful practices that may be employed by development contractors.