2012, time for a fresh start! During the holidays many environmental professionals likely considered what they want for their careers in the upcoming year- a lateral move, new company, different sector, a raise or the satisfaction of knowing they’re an expert. But with busy home and work lives, how can professionals transform these aspirations into reality? Professionals can take ownership of their environmental careers, and increase employability by pursuing professional development.
According to ECO Canada's report, Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment, about one-third of employers experience difficulties finding the workers they need, identifying "a lack of candidates with appropriate skills" as the most common reason. By focusing on professional development, professionals can enhance their chances of filling these gaps.
Taking on professional development can also help individuals meet the criteria needed to pursue a professional designation, such as ECO Canada’s Environmental Professional (EP) certification.
Not sure where to start? ECO Canada has created 5 tips for pursing PD:
Set attainable goals for what you’d like to achieve from taking professional development, and write out a plan outlining how you are going to reach these goals. Include everything from cost, time commitment and a deadline. Be thorough enough to know what your steps to success are.
Talk to your boss about what opportunities exist within the company if you increase your skills and knowledge, and whether or not the company will reimburse you for your efforts.
Research the type of professional development options available to help you reach your goals. Consider elements such as time commitment, cost, value, format, credibility and difficulty level.
If you’re planning on transitioning to the environment industry, explore different career options and research how to transfer your skills to that area. Network with professionals in the environmental sector to learn more about the profession, and make valuable connections to help achieve your vision.
Follow through on your actions by setting checkpoints in your professional development plan. Be assertive with your goals, and congratulate yourself once your reach a milestone, for example the mid-term of a full semester course.
Check out the PD options available through ECO Canada:
Build up your business acumen with Harvard Business Publishing’s Stepping Up to Management training program for managers.
Take part in the Canadian Centre for Environmental Education (CCEE) as a professional development option to gain environmental industry-specific skills and knowledge.
Do you have tips for taking professional development? Is there a class, seminar or event you found useful to increase your skills and knowledge in the environment industry? Share your thoughts!