Together we thrive: inspiring the next environmental health generation

We recognise the urgent need to address the capacity and capability challenges facing the environmental health profession. Currently, there are not enough qualified environmental health professionals in the workforce, nor sufficient people pursuing qualifications in this field.

What's the issue

  • Recruitment and retention
    Environmental health employers are struggling to recruit and retain professionals. Local authorities face serious financial constraints, affecting their ability to recruit, retain and train current and future practitioners.
  • Courses under threat
    Universities are under growing financial pressure, causing them to reconsider the viability of the courses, including environmental health degree programmes. This narrows the qualification pipeline. We need to increase the reach and availability of degree-level apprenticeships to attract students who prefer alternatives to the traditional BSc route.
  • Impact on society
    A robust environmental health workforce is essential. Without it, public health, housing, food safety, environmental protection and health and safety standards decline, impacting on the health and safety of society, particularly the most vulnerable.
  • Raising the profile of environmental health
    It's crucial to raise the profile of environmental health to showcase the profession's role in protecting society, communities and individuals, and to build advocacy and understanding.

What we're doing

In response to these challenges, CIEH is taking proactive steps to overcome the capacity and capability challenges.

  • The Workforce satellite panel
    We've established a Workforce satellite panel comprising a diverse range of stakeholders. The panel is tasked with delivering four key outputs which will result in policy reports and recommendations:
    1. Making the public health case for environmental health: Showcasing the vital work being carried out by environmental health teams.
    2. Making the financial case for environmental health: Highlighting how investment in environmental health can save money for businesses and communities, particularly by reducing people calling on the NHS.
    3. Future proofing the profession: Are we teaching people the right things, the right skills and competencies for the future?
    4. Accessibility, inclusion and diversity: What are the barriers to entering the profession and how can we overcome these?
  • Materials review
    Following discussions with the Workforce satellite panel, we are also working with a sub‑committee to review and develop our career materials and resources.
  • Environmental health as a rewarding career
    We’re committed to promoting environmental health as a rewarding career choice. In early 2024, we ran a digital marketing campaign with UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), and we are planning more campaigns later in the year.

Alongside our Career ambassador scheme, we are also working towards creating a suite of member generated content including blogs, case studies and videos – to give you a platform to champion the profession.

How you can get involved

If you have the time and enthusiasm, we'll provide you with the support and materials you need to inspire the next generation of environmental health professionals.

We're seeking mentors to support personal and professional development of candidates pursuing the pathway to Registration as an Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP).

Apprenticeships in environmental health provide an accessible pathway into the profession and an opportunity for employers to boost their workforce. Learn more about the value of apprenticeships and how to set one up.

Get in touch with our marketing team and we’ll support you in writing a blog, creating a case study or even producing a short video for social media

Download our free graphics and images to share on your social media accounts to raise the profile of environmental health.

Useful links

Take a look at our recent press release and consultations highlighting the capacity and capability challenges facing the environmental health profession:

EHN magazine cover

EHN special editions

We're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Control of Pollution Act with two special editions of EHN available to all.