The Skills You Need to Succeed in 2019

ECO Canada recently surveyed environmental employers, workers and other stakeholders to discover the tops skills needed to work in the environmental sector. Whether it’s skills that every employer needs, or a highly-technical and specific skill set, professional development is always worth the investment.

Find the Right Professional Development to Succeed in 2019

ECO Canada recently surveyed environmental employers, workers and other stakeholders to discover the tops skills needed to work in the environmental sector.
Among the top responses were skills that we have heard employers telling us they need for some time. Areas such as project management and technical writing are always trending, but newer skills in more technical areas are also beginning to emerge as areas critical to environmental work.

Whether it’s skills that every employer needs, or a highly technical and specific skill set, professional development is always worth the investment. Investing in your own professional development (or an employer investing in their team) isn’t just about financial investment – it can be an investment or time, resources, or even volunteering to share your knowledge or assist others who would benefit.

It’s important to realize that professional development has different implications and benefits for employers vs. employees. We’re going to highlight just a few of the ways that each of these groups benefit from investing in ongoing learning.


There are lots of benefits to the organization of investing in your team’s training:

  • Recruitment – you make your company more appealing when you offer opportunities for training. Your clients also benefit from having a more educated and skilled team to help them, especially in a service-oriented company.
  • Investing in PD increases your team’s collective knowledge and better results for the organization. If your employee now knows something they didn’t before, they can leverage that information in their day-to-day work.
  • It helps with job satisfaction & retention. People have a desire to learn and grow – helps prevent workers from feeling stagnant

Top Soft Skills Employers Are Looking For in 2019

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Project Management
  4. Report Writing
  5. Attitude & Professionalism
Top Technical Skills Employers Need in 2019

  1. Policy & Legislation
  2. Industry Knowledge
  3. Sustainability
  4. Site Assessment & Reclamation
  5. Climate Change


When it comes to each of us individually, we may look at things from a different perspective than an employer. Before you begin your professional development search, you’ll want to know what the benefits of taking training are for you.

  •  Gaining new knowledge that keeps you up-to-date in your field. With environmental specializations being so diverse, it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments in your area of expertise.
  • Learn about emerging trends and areas of study. If you’re looking to specialize in an area or are intrigued by new and developing fields of environmental studies then professional development training is a great way to gain new insights or help you transition to a different career path.
  • Follow your interests. The more engaged you are with subject material the more likely you are to retain the new information you’ll receive through training.
  • Find out the skills that employers need and engage in training that will help you gain those skills. Does the job you want to pursue need training in a specific software? Does your current role require a higher level of project management knowledge? Evaluating the must-have skills will help you determine what training to take as well as make you more valuable to employers and show that you are keen to learn.

If you’re an employer or individual, it’s important to also determine the training format that works best for you or your company. If you’re located in a remote area, then perhaps an online training course would be the perfect fit. An in-person workshop may give you the skills you’re looking for. Custom, in-house training could be just what your company needs to train a group of people at once.

Formal vs. Informal Training

Not all professional development is strictly related to your current work situation. Outside of the above options, many people choose to undertake training that will benefit their career from a long-term perspective such as obtaining formal post-secondary education or a professional designation.
Formal training options can include attending a college or university program. These program range from certificates in specialized areas, to bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in environmentally-related disciplines.

ECO Canada has accredited over 30 diverse environmental studies programs across Canada to date, all of which have undergone a process of validation to ensure the curricula is aligned with the skills needed to work in the Canadian environmental sector.
Informal training is a broad category that may include:

  • Seminars and workshops
  • Industry events
  • Volunteering
  • Participating in mentoring programs
  • Attending webinars or listening to podcasts

Informal training is often recognized by professional associations towards annual professional development requirements and can count as CPU or PD credits. All of the above options count towards Environmental Professional (EP) Designation. If you belong to a professional association or have obtained a designation, check with your governing body as to what your annual requirements are and which types of training count towards them.

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