Jacobs is a global multi-disciplinary company of 55,000 employees. The company recognises that the environment influences all social and economic decisions related to development and aims to delivers integrated sustainability solutions throughout its work.
The UK and Ireland Ecology team works as part of integrated teams on large infrastructure projects influencing design decisions to benefit nature. They also provide advisory roles with public sector clients such as Highways England and the Environment Agency, providing an opportunity to influence policy and planning for biodiversity. In 2020 the team supported projects in western Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.
The team believes that many of their most successful projects are where they can successfully align benefits for nature and community. Examples include a river restoration or flood risk management master plan that not only seeks to create habitat but also makes provisions for amenity use, or the design of highways schemes that ensure that community greenspaces are not only protected but connected within the design.
The ecology team is very proactive in knowledge sharing and promotion of best practice both within Jacobs and externally. Ecologists are incentivised to knowledge share with the CIEEM membership, and in 2020 Jacobs had three articles accepted to In Practice across a number of topics. Presentation and attendance at national and international conferences is strongly encouraged and individuals are supported to develop papers and presentations (14 papers in 2020). Furthermore our staff support CIEEM geographic and special interest groups at all levels and on the editorial board for In Practice.
Internally the Global Solutions and Technology (S&T) Initiative is creating new Communities of Practice (CoPs). These connect subject matter experts with the wider global ecology team and enable knowledge dissemination and mentoring, across different lines of business and national teams. The Biology and Ecology CoP (650 members globally) encompasses 19 Specialist Knowledge groups, of which 12 are UK-led, and have been expanded this year to Ecological Clerk of Works, Biodiversity Net Gain, river hydrodynamics and Habitat Regulations Assessment. Global S&T presentations are open to all, held at times that are accessible to different time zones and recorded for subsequent access.
Jacobs’ commitment to staff development is evidenced by its performance management tool: “E3: Engage. Excel. Elevate”. Continuous feedback and coaching are fundamental to the E3 program, enabling employees to fully develop their careers, while at the same time aligning with business priorities. It expands upon a formal appraisal system to increase career conversations between managers and employees throughout the year, to celebrate successes, and motivate employees by supporting their career aspirations. Jacobs also provides a structured Graduate training programme.
Jacobs established its Chartership Academy in 2018 to support ecologists in career development by supporting and mentoring individuals to attain competencies and through the application process to become chartered. In 2020 eight staff gained chartership (six through CIEEM, two RSB). Jacobs has integrated CIEEM competencies within the GDP, guiding ecologists through the membership grades to Chartered Status.
All Jacobs disciplines are involved with promoting STEM careers and a number of the ecology team are Jacobs STEM ambassadors. Jacobs ecologists are also encouraged to develop links with local universities, or reach back into their own academic journeys to promote the profession. This may be through career journey talks, recruitment events and guest lectures. In 2020 the team were able to continue this programme through online sessions.
Over the last few weeks, we have been posting further information on each of the 2021 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog. Further details on each project/individual is set out in our 2021 CIEEM Awards Booklet.