The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) is a relatively new organisation. It covers a specialist employment area and has members working in a range of sectors, with local authorities, consultancies, NGOs, government, academic institutes and industry being most highly represented. The Institute is primarily concerned with ecology and its applications —working with plant and animal species, wildlife habitats and biodiversity— but broadens out into many other aspects of environmental management.
The Institute aims to raise the profile of the profession to establish, maintain and enhance professional standards, and to promote an ethic of environmental care within the profession and among clients and employers. The Institute was established to raise and maintain standards of professional practice. The major rationale for the establishment of the Institute was that there are many people purporting to practise in this area and there is no regulation of it.
To meet the Institute’s overall aims, appropriate training programmes for members have been developed and advice for those wishing to enter the profession is given.
The development of the appropriate skills for environmental professionals requires education and training to build the basic knowledge needed to practise. The acquisition of competence to apply that knowledge (i.e. appropriate skills) is also an essential part of the training required by environmental professionals. Education and training fall into several categories.
Fundamental knowledge is gained at school and at institutes of further and higher education. This starts at an early age but, in terms of professional skills, the basis of this begins between fourteen and eighteen years. Essentially this is a basic understanding of the principles of biology and ecology coupled with general knowledge. Although the emphasis is on developing fundamental knowledge, it is interesting to note that in the UK now even children at school are learning about environmental management techniques.