Education review announces chair of working party

Publication Date: 29th July 2014

Subject: Environmental protection

A comprehensive review into professional environmental health education, commissioned by the CIEH from an independent working party, is set to make recommendations by the end of the year. The working party is chaired by Nick Wilson, strategic director for children, schools and families at Surrey County Council and includes students, employers from all sectors, academics and members of the CIEH governance community and education team.

The review was initiated by the Board of Trustees in February and confirmed at their strategic away day in March. Its scope includes the entire professional education system, delivered through CIEH-accredited colleges and universities, including the degree and MSc, and technical qualifications, such as the higher certificates in food premises inspection and control.

Tony Lewis, CIEH head of policy and education, explained: ‘The current system of professional education was established in the early-1990s. The review has been tasked to conduct a thorough investigation into whether it is still fit for purpose. One thing we know is that degree students seeking placements are finding them exceedingly hard to come by. The review will, therefore, explore options for the delivery of work-based learning within the qualification process.

He added: ‘We know that there will be a degree in the future and that the CIEH will continue to conduct professional assessment and gatekeeping – these are the cornerstones of any profession. Beyond that, nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out. But anything that the review recommends will be based on evidence.’

The CIEH exercise coincides with the Food Standards Agency’s review of the food law code of practice, which is to make recommendations relating to the competencies and qualifications required in food safety inspection.

Mr Lewis said. ‘The good news is that we know that that the employment rate for environmental health graduates is extremely good, both in the UK and abroad. They don’t all work for local authorities but in a range of roles, including working in the private sector and for government agencies, and that’s a good thing. The review’s purpose is to make sure that we have right education system in place to produce the next generation of environmental health professionals and, in this respect, we are particularly fortunate to have secured the services of Nick Wilson to chair the panel. Nick is an EHP and so understands the profession but he has no “baggage” to bring to the table. We are confident that he will do a fantastic job.’

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