My route to CIWEM Chartership

JBA Consulting chartered senior analyst Peter Rook MCIWEM C.WEM shares with us his route to becoming a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager

I’m currently a Chartered Senior Analyst and Flood Resilience Team Leader at JBA Consulting, based in West Sussex and I have seven years’ experience working in the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management sector.

My career started out in an LLFA, working as a flood risk/ drainage officer for East Sussex County Council. There were two main parts of my role, firstly leading on the delivery of flood risk schemes, and secondly providing consultation responses to planning applications on the suitability of the surface water drainage proposals. I worked at ESCC for 3.5 years before moving to JBA in 2020.

After I joined JBA, I was supported towards gaining professional accreditation with CIWEM which I achieved in 2021; and I have since taken on additional responsibilities as a Team Leader at the Haywards Heath office. I particularly enjoy the variety of projects I work on at JBA. For example, delivering strategies and schemes to support Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs), working with Local Planning Authorities and undertaking site specific flood risk and drainage assessments for private sector clients.

The process of applying for chartership allows for a lot of self-reflection on your career to date, which I have found rewarding in itself. Chartered status is valued in industry as it provides clients and stakeholders with an assurance that you have had your competencies independently assessed. In turn, I have found my own career has progressed as a result of gaining professional accreditation.

The application

Achieving Chartered Water and Environmental Manager (C.WEM) status was something I aspired to since starting my career in flood risk management. I started thinking about professional membership early and kept good track on my CPD. I also applied for non-chartered membership to become more familiar with CIWEM as a professional institution.

Whilst it can be difficult to know where to start with the written application, I began with matching my experience to each of the competencies in a spreadsheet; before writing individual competencies over a series of weekends. I sought regular feedback from my mentor who helped me to refine these or would point out areas where I could strengthen my application.


When I started working on my written application early in 2021, the majority of my experience was from working in the public sector and I found it difficult to translate this into specific project examples.

For example, having come from an LLFA background, much of my role involved case work or acting as a client project manager rather than delivering specific projects from start to finish. I was lucky to have a mentor with a similar background to mine who could help me relate my own experience to the competencies.

Professional interview

In the lead up to my interview, I was provided support as part of JBA’s professional membership scheme. This included a mock interview with JBA staff who are members of CIWEM’s Professional Standards Committee, this provided me with additional confidence in my application prior to interview.

I chose to present the Winchester Section 19 investigation at my interview, which is a post flood investigation I undertook on behalf of Hampshire County Council. As a project where I undertook both the technical and project management tasks, I felt this encompassed a broad range of the mandatory competencies and how I meet them.

For example, whilst I undertook a broad range of technical tasks, I also engaged with stakeholders, planned a site visit and managed the project delivery.

Whilst I was nervous on the day of my interview, it felt more like an engaging discussion. The interviewers were interested in my presentation and asked a range of different questions ranging from my career progression, current environmental issues and my specialist area.

Top tips for getting Chartered

  • Be clear about what your role was on a project, your assessors and interviewers want to understand your contributions, not what your team has done.
  • Only include things in your written application that you are happy to be asked about at interview.
  • Give yourself an application submission date to work towards for your written application.
  • Keep track of your CPD early on in your career, as you will need to submit a CPD log as part of your application.
  • Engage with your mentors or sponsors to help refine your written application and to help you prepare for the interview.
  • Maintain an interest in broader environmental trends and issues outside of your specialism.
  • Practice your presentation and answering mock interview questions, as this will help build your confidence.

What’s next

I was keen to take a more active role in CIWEM, and from October 2024 I will be taking up a new position as CIWEM’s Junior President. With current skill shortages in industry and considering the challenges faced with climate change, I’m excited to see what I can do to engage with early and mid-career professionals; and will be working closely with CIWEM’s Early Careers Network.

I think my new role and day job will definitely be keeping me busy, but over the longer term I’ve got my sights on becoming a CIWEM Fellow and continuing to be an active and involved CIWEM member.

Want to become a Chartered member? Find out more here.

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