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Chartership News, May 2009


David ManningDavid Manning (Professional Secretary) has some cheering news. Getting a degree is only the beginning.

Geoscientist 19.5 May 2009

It is often the case that those of us who helped you learn while you were at university didn’t quite get round to telling you about all of the little surprises waiting for you when you left our care. So, as you enter the exciting life of the professional geologist you will discover that finishing your degree was only the start of your learning experience. Your employer will want you to learn all sorts of new skills in order to do what is required for you to draw your monthly salary, and most employers expect you to pick up those skills pretty quickly. That’s where practice comes in, and with it the introduction of a title – Practising Geologist.

The title has not just been “created” by the Geological Society, but is used by some employers, with the Society’s blessing, to describe Fellows who are working towards Chartered status. In a growing number of cases, employers have developed training schemes that lead to submission for Chartered status, and these schemes can be endorsed by the Society in recognition of their value in ensuring that candidates for Chartership are well prepared.

One employer that positively promotes professional development is the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency’s Mike Harget writes: “The Agency supports the professionalism of its workforce, paying for one membership per employee. The Society has endorsed our Technical Development Framework and this demonstrates our proactive approach to dealing with the skills shortages that we face. It reflects the professionalism of our officers, as it will act as a stepping stone towards Chartered Status. We are also able to award the title “Practising Geologist”, again endorsed by the Geological Society, to officers who meet a prescribed level of capability. We have now awarded six officers this title.” One of these, Paula Awty (picture), is shown receiving her award. “This approach is being rolled out across all our operational teams” Harget says.

Training schemes of the type used by the Environment Agency extend our profession’s ability to formalise the recognition of competence within a chosen field. This scheme has prescribed levels of capability that map onto the Agency’s specific requirements and standards recognised by the Society - enabling individuals to demonstrate step-by-step progression to levels appropriate for Chartership. The Society is interested in endorsing more schemes of this type, as structured post-graduation professional development appears to be very effective in helping to build the capacity of the geological workforce.

To find out more or discuss the possibility of having your company’s training scheme endorsed, please contact Bill Gaskarth ( But don’t all rush at once – if we are inundated with requests, we will have to ration the process!

All Change!



Bill GaskarthChartership Officer Bill Gaskarth appeals for help as the new system of Chartership application has knock-on effects on the whole process…

Geosscientist 19.5 May 2009

We are now in the changeover period between old and new regulations for dealing with Chartered Geologist applications. The end of the old regulations acted as a spur for many, and 65 applications are currently in the system; from candidates working as far apart as Chile, the Yukon and Hong Kong. Most, if successful, will have been elected at the April 22 Council meeting. Under the new regulations, we have so far dealt with 12 applications - at the first of the planned interview days (April 15, Burlington House).

To process this large volume of applications we have called upon the services of 141 scrutineers, mostly from our old list. We are immensely grateful for all their hard work and thank them wholeheartedly. What this demonstrates, though, is the real need to have a large body of scrutineers on whom we can call. Scrutineers may not be called to serve in a given round, simply because the applicant pool in their area has not produced a candidate; but we need to be prepared.

Applications coming in under the new regs come mostly from geologists who are only just becoming eligible to apply (though there is a sprinkling of more experienced candidates too), and this younger demographic places greater burdens upon the mentoring system. In larger companies, mentoring is commonly done ‘in house’. But for the rest, we need experienced CGeols who can offer their services through their Regional Group. So, I hope there may be scrutineers out there from the “old“list who, although not wishing to continue as scrutineers, might be willing to help as advisers/mentors. If so, please offer your services through your Regional Group Chair.

Henceforward, interviews will be concentrated at centres across the UK. As a consequence, we also need scrutineers (covering the various specialisms) in all parts of the country. We would like to use local scrutineers wherever possible, if only because it saves time and money. Our next Interview day will be on 15 July in Edinburgh. We do not yet know how many candidates will apply for this date, nor do we have any idea of their likely specialisms - so we need to be prepared to field a broad range of scrutineers.

This is therefore an appeal to experienced CGeols in Scotland to consider joining the list of scrutineers for the new regulations!