Environmental management training in Australia: a case study

Environmental managers require education and training tailored to their particular professional needs. Specifically they need a range of technical (scientific) skills, human interaction skills and integrative skills. The Environmental Management programme at Deakin University, Australia provides much of this training through practical experience in real-life case studies. This paper presents an example of one of these studies undertaken by first year students. Students were required to undertake a research project into household activities which contribute to CO2 emissions, and so to the enhanced greenhouse effect. The students were responsible for deciding what data was needed, how it was to be collected and analysed, and for drawing appropriate conclusions from the results. From the exercise they obtained useful information on the relative importance of various household activities to CO2 production (use of cars and electricity topped the list). More importantly, they gained experience in project formulation, the interpersonal skills involved in teamwork, data analysis and interpretation, and working within tight time and budgetary constraints. A strong foundation for later development of the environmental managers' skills was laid.