Binnies ‘Solutions by Nature’ project manager Graham Campbell MCIWEM C.WEM shares with us his route to becoming a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager.
Applying for Chartership had been a long-term ambition of mine. I had previously not committed to it effectively, however achieving the registration made me realise it’s never too late to apply. In the end, starting a new job was the catalyst for bringing together my application.
I spent 13 years working at Enfield Council for the Lead Local
Flood Authority. My role included responding to local flood issues and incidents. This role gave me a strong background of experiences from
which to start my application.
I worked on capital sustainable drainage system (SuDS) projects at
a range of scales from highway rain gardens to constructed wetlands and rural
natural flood management schemes. I delivered all stages of projects from
opportunity identification, feasibility, consultation, outline and detailed
design, quantity assessment and estimation, procurement, and construction
For the last year I’ve been working at Binnies where I’m
undertaking an integral role within a new part of the business called
‘Solutions by Nature’. I work on all stages of delivery around river
restoration, wetlands, and other nature-based solutions, to meet emerging water
quality, biodiversity, and other targets for the water industry.
My role has changed from a hands-on
approach in flood risk management to project managing the delivery of nature-based
solutions for water company clients. Regardless of the role, I find there are
always daily challenges and rewards.
I currently plan, execute, and monitor projects to meet client
performance requirements. I drive innovation and efficiencies into project
delivery and ensure health, safety and quality assurance are embedded into all
aspects of the service provision.
When pursuing Chartership, I wanted to
ensure I had a recognised, peer monitored registration and my employer supported
me in doing so. I hope that being Chartered will maximise my career progression
and work opportunities.
Next, I aim
to become more involved in CIWEM by sponsoring peers in their chartership
journey as well as provide structured career mentorship to colleagues. I’m also
intending to sign up as an assessor.
The time commitment required to prepare my
application felt like an initial barrier. It is important to research and plan
ahead once you have made the decision to apply. What I shouldn't have done was put it off for so long.
The cost of the application can also be a
barrier so it’s good to understand what your employer can do to support you. I
was fortunate enough that my employer supported me.
prepare for my professional interview I started by focusing on the presentation and ensured
it demonstrated the mandatory competencies, including elements I had not
expanded on in my application.
I chose to present on a natural flood
management (NFM) project that I worked on in my previous role. The project was a catchment scale
application of NFM features, applied in a targeted area in Enfield north London
– the Enfield Chase Restoration Project. It included elements of
woodland creation, watercourse and wetland restoration, rewilding and
was to get critical elements of the project off the ground by liaising with
multiple stakeholders. I chose
this project as it included clear objectives and targets and had a range of
opportunities and challenges. I was proud of my achievements on this project
and there was a clear story to tell.
project outcomes were immediately apparent in terms of biodiversity improvement
and habitat creation as well as flood management. The project also had
community involvement at its core and provided public amenity to both immediate
communities and within the wider London area.
Once I had mapped out the story for the
presentation, I looked to link in the mandatory competencies. I had a lot to
talk about but only 10 minutes to present. I ensured I was concise and selected
elements of the project that best suited the requirements of the presentation –
to show what I achieved.
lined up a mock interview. Having been through the process, I found those who
have gained chartership with CIWEM generally more than happy to lend time to
help you. The mock interview really helped me understand where my potential
knowledge gaps might be.
day of my interview, as it was virtual, it was key for me to be comfortable in
my surroundings. Remember that the assessors are likely to be genuinely
interested in your career, so be ready to talk about yourself.
tips for getting Chartered
include things in your application you are happy to be quizzed about at
- Draft your
career overview report first to give your application a steer.
- Keep your Continuing
Professional Development record up to date regularly to ensure you meet the
- Map out
which examples you will use for each mandatory competency before you get stuck
in writing them and have two examples for each.
- Work out
the average words needed per competency (400 per competency), you can go over
or under but keep this rule of thumb in mind.
- Set time
aside for each area of your application and commit to it.
- What I’m pleased I did was engage with my sponsors to
understand what they expected from me. They were incredibly helpful and gave me
great advice. (A lot of which I
am simply passing on here!)