Education, education . . .

Chalk and talk, interactive workshops, practical exercises, videos, role-play... Training delivery, according to Melanie Kenny and Wendy Jervis, URS Dames & Moore, depends on what's being delivered, and to whom.

The provision of training is highly variable and is dependent upon the organisation's perceived value of training. It can be:

All of the above are equally true of environmental training. Selected pieces of legislation, for example, require proof of competency where a key environmental management role is defined, for example, the Waste Management Licensing regulations.

Almost universal
ISO 14001, the Environmen-tal Management System standard, requires that training needs are identified. All relevant functions within the organisation need to be aware of the importance of conformance with the environmental policy and procedures, the significant environmental impacts of operations, their roles and responsibilities and the possible consequences of getting it wrong. The personnel performing key tasks need to be competent.

Most manufacturing, and many other, organisations have procedures for minimising environmental effects or assuring regulatory compliance. These may be formal or informal, written or unwritten, but it is almost universally the case that a procedure will not be followed unless it is clearly communicated, understood and reinforced. As new staff enter the organisation and procedures change, this is a continual process.

Good environmental management, like good quality management, is the responsibility of everyone within an organisation, but certain key tasks do often necessarily fall to a designated individual, the Environmental Manager or Co-ordinator. As the demands on this person change, for example in response to a changing regulatory environment, training is often needed to ensure continuing competency in addition to personnel and professional development. In the wider organisation, environmental training can be used to boost team working and employees commitment to the company.

Environmental training is an umbrella term that can cover many types of training, which meet different needs:

  • Environmental awareness training. This is a term used to cover training with the purpose of giving a general appreciation of the subject. This might include, for example: an overview of the legislation, for example the potential for environmental liabilities to attach to the company during property transactions; or information on the site's environmental setting and sensitive environmental receptors, by way of introduction to the need for good environmental management.
  • Environmental training for managers. This term can be used to cover training delivered to managers for business management purposes, and might include: an understanding of how an environmental management system designed to ISO 14001 could benefit the business and how it would fit into existing business systems; and understanding environment-related business risks and their mitigation, such as Environmental Due Diligence processes.
  • Environmental training for Environmental Managers, Co-ordinators or other key personnel. This term covers all issue-specific and technical training aimed at increasing the skills of staff with either specific roles and responsibilities for aspects of environmental management, or in certain business sectors. It might include: training in Environmental Auditing - the rationale, process and technical considerations; training in technical subject areas such as hazardous chemicals storage, handling, use and disposal, waste management, introduction to soil and groundwater issues; or train-the-trainers training, for environmental personnel who would be conducting general training within their organisations.

Appropriate delivery
As with all training, to be effective the trainer has to be clear what the objectives of the training are, and for whom. These will determine the length and the technical complexity of the training material. All of this will influence what is appropriate in terms of the form of delivery - traditional chalk and talk sessions, interactive workshops, practical exercises, videos, role play etc. Use of photographs can be highly effective, as a colleague of mine found when the trainees finally realised that the pictures illustrating poor environmental management practice were taken from their own site.


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