Rebecca Finbow
21 September 2023

EDI in preparing students for professional practice

multicoloured leaves with CEDHE logo and overlaid text "Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in preparing students for professional practice

Following the publication of the new QAA ES3 Benchmark in March 2022, the Community for Environmental Disciplines in Higher Education (CEDHE) strengthened the focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Employability within the CEDHE/IES accreditation of academic programmes. To support our education community in delivering equitable, diverse and inclusive programmes, and further ensuring students from diverse groups are supported to succeed in professional practice, the CEDHE committee intend to publish guidance for addressing EDI in preparing students for professional practice. This guidance will be informed by best practice in the HE sector and will draw on examples from the CEDHE community. 

There are already some excellent resources that document best practice in relation to how programmes are designed to ensure they are equitable, diverse and inclusive, such as the Royal Geographical Society’s “Enabling Equitable Cultures” website. To complement this the CEDHE committee will focus their attention on EDI best practice with respect to preparing students for professional practice. The CEDHE/IES accreditation process provides a unique opportunity to identify best practice in relation to how environmental science and related programmes are supporting students from diverse backgrounds to succeed in the profession.  

This project, to surface and share best practice, also forms an important part of the IES's EDI Plan 2023-2026, which seeks to enhance diversity and inclusion across the sector, help the IES to act as agents for change, and lead by example for the betterment of our society, economy and environment. We hope that publishing examples of best practice from within our community will support the continuous improvement of environmental science education, and lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the future. 

To support us in this work we are calling for our institutional members to provide examples of good practice from within their programmes that aim to enhance the outcomes of diverse student groups in preparing for professional practice. Whilst we welcome all submissions relating to EDI, you may wish to consider the following areas:  

  • How you are supporting students from diverse backgrounds (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, socio-economic status, disability and neurodivergence) in accessing placements and work experience  
  • How you are supporting students from diverse backgrounds in planning for a career  
  • How you are providing insights into professional practice for students from diverse backgrounds  
  • How you are supporting students in developing EDI specific graduate attributes

Initially we would like a brief (max 300 words) overview of the activity, content or initiative, including the aims and, if available, the impact. From these submissions we will identify a number of examples to be made into detailed case studies. To contribute to this project please fill out this short survey as an expression of interest by 31st October 2023.  

This project is being led by an EDI working group of the CEDHE committee including Dr Alison Stokes (University of Plymouth), Dr Jackie Rogers (University of the West of England), Dr Naomi Holmes (University of York) and Dr Hameed Sulaiman (Sultan Qaboos University). 

If you have any questions relating to this project please contact the Education and Professional Development Officer at the IES on