ENVIRONMENTAL CAREERS OVERVIEW
Choosing a career within the environmental field is both rewarding and fascinating. You actively contribute to the maintenance and conservation of the environment and career options are wide and diverse.
There are two main routes which you can take.
Careers in this field are centred around people and their interaction with the environment, and how to make these exchanges beneficial to both people and the environment.
Environmental science careers
Depending on your subjects and major, careers in this field generally lead to a career path in biodiversity conservation, environmental management aspects such as pollution control, waste management or infrastructural development.
Many environmental organisations need help from volunteers and working in a voluntary position in an environment-related role may often be the first step into getting your first paying position. One could take up a volunteering role with conservation organisations or join advocacy groups in your local area. Volunteering gives you experience and shows commitment.
JOINING A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION
Membership of one or more learned societies is essential for the development of a successful professional career. It is important to stay up to date with your industry and joining a professional association, attending conferences and events and reading publications in your field will help you in this regard. Some professional bodies also offer bursaries or internships.
The Institute of Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) is a professional body specifically aimed at municipal managers and provides members with a platform for interaction and networking with colleagues in the industry.
Membership will provide you with the following benefits:
- Opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues in your industry
- You can learn about the macro socio-political drivers in your industry
- A chance to compare your thinking on issues with that of your peers
- The Institute provides a platform to profile yourself in the industry
- You can demonstrate your thought leadership in a peer environment
- Industry trends and issues can be tracked and monitored
- An opportunity to participate in your industry on a national level
The membership of the IERM consists of managers responsible for management processes involving:
- Cemeteries and Crematoria
- Public Parks
- Environmental Management & Planning
- Nature Conservation
- Community Recreation a& Recreation Facilities
- Urban Greening
- Arboriculture & Urban Agriculture
Once you have qualified and started a career in your chosen field, it is advisable to further qualify yourself in obtaining a professional designation. Click here to find out more about becoming a South African Certified Park Professional (SACPP).
Required Competencies to Achieve SA Certified Park Professional Status
Candidates must provide a self-assessment of their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) in the following competency areas to qualify for the certificate along with a recent resume/CV.
KSAs needed to manage facilities, maintained landscapes, utilities, fleet, and other physical resources for the Total Cost of Operation over the lifecycle of agency or organization’s assets.
Landscape and Amenity Horticulture:
KSAs required to understand the science and technology of man-made greenspace.
Operations and Maintenance:
KSAs required to ensure operation and maintenance of all facilities, maintained landscapes, utilities, fleet, and other physical resources are safe, operable, ready for use, and available to the public when required.
KSAs focusing on coordination of physical resources construction, long-range planning (including capital improvement planning), and other activities that have specific starting and ending dates, budgets, goals and objectives, and project teams.
KSAs that ensure that agency/organization’s natural and cultural resources are stewarded, managed, and protected to meet their specified purpose(s) in a sustainable method that benefits the public.
KSAs that frame the management of fiscal resources for increased effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, and innovation within the operations of the agency/organization.
KSAs needed to manage and monitor subordinate performance, recruit employees effectively, and provide for subordinate development and training with the overall goal of improving agency/organization delivery of services.
Interpretation and Education:
KSAs focusing on the delivery and management of interpretation and education to the agency/organization stakeholders through various programs including, but not limited to, signage, displays, media, personal interpretive services, and other programs.
KSAs required for implementing public health impact analysis, programs, and associated communications solely within the agency/organization, or as part of a collaborative effort with partners, in order to reinforce healthy people/healthy parks linkage.
KSAs framing the mastery of individual leadership approaches, leading groups and teams, and systems leadership that are required for overall mission fulfillment of an agency/organization.
KSAs focusing on managing recreation facilities, programs, and events that focus on programming and promotion.
The World Parks Academy (WPA) provides a program of certification and training for parks and recreation professionals worldwide. It is the only program of its type in the world that focuses on advancing the broader profession in a powerful partnership between World Urban Parks (WUP) and Indiana University’s Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands. By establishing a set of international standards for parks professionals to achieve, the WPA has formed a global network, allowing knowledge, tools, and experience in the field to be exchanged across borders.
WPA offers two professional certificate programs, the Certified Park Professional (CPP) and the Certified Park Professional International (CPP-I). Certification is awarded based on a candidate’s level of national and international experience. The WPA Board, which includes representative members from every continent, uses a universal competency based framework to assess each candidate’s level of knowledge, skills, and abilities in the parks and recreation management field in order to award certification.
In 2016, the WPA formed a partnership with South Africa’s Institute of Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) to provide a national version of the CPP. Benefits of applying for the South African Certified Park Professional (SACPP) certificate include opportunity to:
- Advance your professional development through recognizable accreditation
- Become part of an international network of park professionals
- Attend free monthly webinars from leading professionals in the field and receive credit for continuing education
- Share your knowledge and experience in South Africa and with an international community
- Receive a one year membership to World Urban Parks
The total cost of certification is $137.50 USD. Certification is valid for three years and may be renewed as long as 30 hours of professional development is achieved during this time period.
If you are interested in applying for the South African CPP please contact click here for the application package. A member of IERM will assist you with the application and help determine whether you qualify for the certificate based on an assessment of your knowledge, skills, and abilities in the following competencies.