How to achieve professional chartership

The journey to professional chartership is different to everyone, Stuart Harwood shares how he did it.

Written by Stuart Harwood | Senior Analyst

At JBA our people are our greatest asset. Every year we support a number of colleagues on their journey to achieving professional chartership.

I joined JBA in September 2020 after 17 years working in consultancy. During the early years of my career, I was a hydraulic modeller. As my career evolved, I moved towards project management for Flood Risk Assessment and EIA work for large scale development and infrastructure projects.

How to make progress

Before joining JBA I had made two previous attempts to build some momentum with preparing my CIWEM application. But these quickly fizzled out and I started questioning whether CIWEM was really needed so far into my career.

Joining JBA provided a fresh start in many ways and a renewed impetus. Guidance and mentoring by JBA colleagues helped break the application down into manageable chunks. Critically, it also assisted with my interpretation of the competencies and precisely what they were looking for me to demonstrate. This was one of the main things I was struggling with, leading me to give up on previous attempts to prepare the application. With a better understanding of what the various competencies were asking of me, it soon became clear that the problem was not finding examples to answer a competence, but how to squeeze everything I wanted to talk about into the word limit. This was the motivation I needed to get it done.

Advice for anyone considering professional chartership
  • Start early and find a mentor

    It may sound a bit of a cliché, but my take on the journey to chartership is that it’s just that, a journey. Make a start early in your career, tackle it in bite-sized chunks, adopt a ‘little and often’ approach to assembling the application content and team up with a mentor, someone who’s ‘been there, done that’, to provide guidance and direction.  JBA has a wealth of knowledge and experience amongst its 700 staff, and tapping into this certainly helped knock my application into shape.

  • Prepare and practice

    Don’t be tempted to duck the opportunity for a mock interview or two. It’s an absolutely essential part of the preparation, a great opportunity to fine-tune any potential weaker elements. And importantly, it really helps with building confidence ahead of the real thing.

  • Take every opportunity

    If I had to pick one core theme from my professional interview experience, it would be breadth – in terms of awareness, knowledge, understanding and experience across a wide spectrum of topics and issues. So exploit opportunities beyond the day job to develop knowledge in areas both related and unrelated to your area of work. Training and CPD opportunities are readily available at JBA and we’re all encouraged to attend webinars and make full use of our annual training budget.

    Invest the time and make it happen sooner rather than later. It feels good when you see MCIWEM, C.WEM after your name! Good luck!

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JBA provides mentoring and a range of other support for colleagues pursuing professional membership and chartership. Discover more about career opportunities with us.


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