Vince Robson of Integra Training & Consulting on changing industry perceptions to environmental training."Slightly eccentric…out of touch with the real world…do-gooders" - ten years ago these might have been some of the words used to describe environmentalists. Very few businesses would have employed anyone with a direct responsibility for environmental management.
Since then, it has become the norm for medium to larger sized organisations to take their environmental obligations seriously, and many now directly employ an environmental co-ordinator.
Changes to legislation - such as the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations and the Landfill Directive - public and stakeholder expectations, supply chain pressure and the climate change levy mean that environmental management is now a core strategy for organisations. As with any other key organisational objective, pivotal to business success is the need to have highly trained staff who have up-to-date, relevant knowledge of the impact the organisation's operations has on the wider environment combined with a clearly understood environmental management system.
Organisations are increasingly turning to specialist external training companies to fill these knowledge gaps. One such organisation, Sunderland-based Integra Training & Consulting, has, since its formation in 1993, undertaken environmental training, support and advice to over 400 companies throughout the UK.
Integra offers a wide range of accredited and non-accredited programmes, which it delivers as public and in-company courses, one recipient who has recently attended one of Integra's programmes is Glenn Ridsdale, Safety And Environment Adviser for National grid Transco. Glenn spoke of his reasons for undertaking environmental training and why National Grid Transco takes its environmental responsibilities seriously.
"National Grid Transco is committed to the protection and enhancement of the environment, always seeking new ways to minimise the environmental impacts of our past, present and future activities. We believe that everyone is responsible for good environmental performance as we incorporate environmental considerations into all our business activities.
"To this end National Grid Transco recognises the importance of ensuring its employees are equipped with the correct tools for the job. Attending the environmental training courses that I did at Integra, has helped me to gain a broader depth of environmental knowledge."
Integra offers a range of professional level training courses designed for the beginner upwards. The courses are delivered as modules (IEMA Foundation Certificate, IOSH Managing Environmental Responsibilities, IEMA Associate Certificate, NEBOSH Specialist Diploma in Environmental Management) allowing delegates to study at their own pace. Integra also offers the IEMA Foundation Course in Environmental Auditing for those individuals and organisations that are working towards or have an environmental management system, such as ISO 14001.
Underpinning Integra's training is the support it provides organisations with management systems development e.g. ISO 14001, offered as either direct consultancy or through its ISO 14001 Distance Learning Toolkit.