How I became a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager and Chartered Engineer

Matthew Hare MCIWEM C.WEM CEng shares with us his route to becoming a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager and Chartered Engineer through our work-based learning route

Matthew Hare MCIWEM C.WEM CEng is a civil engineer at Plandescil Ltd

I specialise in the design of sustainable drainage systems and flood risk solutions. Over 19 years, my career has evolved from a trainee surveyor to a senior position where I lead the infrastructure department, spearhead projects, and mentor our staff.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and in 2018 I successfully sought to become a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager (C.WEM) to formally acknowledge my expertise in water and environmental management.

This led me on to my next goal of obtaining Chartered Engineer (CEng) status, which after 19 years in the field, I felt prepared to undertake the Chartership process for.

My journey included obtaining the Engineering Technician (EngTech) and Incorporated Engineer (IEng) registrations, each building upon the last and setting the stage for becoming a Chartered Engineer.

I have just earned CEng status with CIWEM, applying through the work-based learning route, alongside memberships with the ICE and IMechE. This achievement not only bolsters my professional credibility but also propels my career forward.

Barriers

Juggling work and family life whilst dedicating time to my Chartership submission was a significant hurdle. My solution was to earmark regular, manageable time slots over months to progressively compile my application.

The support from my company was a cornerstone in managing this challenge effectively.

Work-based learning

I applied for Chartered Engineer status through CIWEM’s work-based learning route, a route for professionals without the recognised qualifications needed for CEng.

By carefully reviewing the guidelines and understanding the outcomes at master's level, I identified the necessary evidence.

Reflecting on my career, I selected projects that exhibited my competencies across diverse fields. To present a comprehensive portfolio, I actively sought out further experience and training to fill any skill gaps. This methodical approach was demanding but crucial in showcasing my career's equivalence to the educational standards expected.

Professional interview

To prepare for the interview, I aligned my skills with the required competencies and chose two projects that best demonstrated my abilities.

Initially nervous, I was surprised to find the assessment atmosphere reassuring. The assessors aimed to guide, not intimidate, transforming what I expected to be a stringent interview into a collaborative conversation. Their friendly manner kept me comfortable, allowing me to smoothly handle small issues, like mistakenly starting my presentation at the final slide.

The assessors explored my career and technical skills, focusing on technical questions that let me thoroughly present my expertise in drainage analysis. Despite the high stakes, the interview environment confirmed my abilities and became a key moment in my Chartership journey.

Top tips

  • Embrace incremental progress: Start building your portfolio early on. Even the smallest progress adds up, and when it's time to compile your application, you'll appreciate the head start.
  • Document as you go: Keep a detailed record of your projects and roles. This habit can save you time and provides a rich repository to draw from for your Chartership application.
  • Engage with your projects: Select projects that you've been deeply involved in for your portfolio. The depth of your engagement will shine through as you detail your contributions and learnings.
  • Bridge your skills gap proactively: Don't wait for gaps to widen; actively seek opportunities to develop skills that align with the CIWEM competencies.
  • Select projects strategically for presentation: Choose the ones that not only demonstrate your skills but also show your passion and commitment to environmental management.
  • Prepare for the interview with your peers: Practice discussing your projects and experience with colleagues to gain confidence in articulating your competencies clearly and concisely.
  • Reflect on feedback: Actively seek and reflect on feedback throughout your career, using it to prepare a robust Chartership application.
  • Continuous learning: Keep abreast of new developments in your field and incorporate continuous learning into your professional life, demonstrating your commitment to the profession.
  • Network within CIWEM: Engage with the community, attend events, and use CIWEM's resources to broaden your understanding of the field and the Chartership process.

What’s next

In retrospect, having an experienced mentor to provide guidance during my Chartership journey would have been incredibly beneficial. While I succeeded in earning my Chartership, the process could have felt less daunting and time-consuming with an insightful mentor.

As I reflect on my experience, I hope I can pay it forward by mentoring aspiring Chartership candidates in the future. Drawing from the challenges I faced, I aim to provide the type of thoughtful advice and encouragement that would have assisted me along the way.

Find out more about becoming a Chartered CIWEM member or Chartered Engineer.

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