James Ennis, member of the Institute’s construction route panel

For National Careers Week, @IFATEched spoke to James Ennis, who is a member of the Institute’s construction route panel. Our route panels consist of employers who are experts in their industry. Their role is to review apprenticeship standards and technical qualifications so that they meet both employers’ and learners’ needs.

James tells us about his career, and how he got to where he is now, as a senior environmental consultant. He discusses how apprenticeships can not only help with social mobility but train up the next generation with the skills the country needs to transition towards a more sustainable future:

My career journey

I started on a three-month placement at Network Rail after graduating in 2009. From here, I took two further internal roles in the company, working as an environmental consultant.

In 2015, I moved to Arup as a senior environmental consultant. I have provided advice to a number of projects, such as the Tideway tunnel (London’s super sewer) and the High Speed 2 rail project.

I was also offered the opportunity to line manage Arup's first environmental apprentice. This helped me develop my own management skills and to understand what was required to be a people manager early on in my career.  I also got to see, first hand, the benefits of apprenticeships.

I'm really proud to have recently obtained Chartered Environmentalist status. I have become a full member of the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). This provides me with external recognition of my experience and competence as an environmental professional over the past 10 years.

The next generation of environmentalists

I’m interested in seeing new ways of working, as well as improving social mobility and offering increased opportunity to take up roles in my sector.

The environmental consulting sector typically employs large numbers of graduates as the basis for its early careers recruitment. This limits entry opportunities for those who haven’t followed the traditional university route.

This approach can bring with it a very traditional approach to problem-solving.

Employing apprentices opens up the industry to a larger base of applicants. These applicants may not have had the inclination or financial support to obtain a university education – but they have tremendous potential and often a very different way of seeing and interpreting the world. My hope is that apprenticeships will make the industry more accessible, bringing new ways of thinking that will really benefit the sector.

If I were a school leaver, the apprenticeships on offer now would have offered a more appealing education path than university for me. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to learn the soft skills of working in an organisation as well as the technical skills needed to carry out a job. You're also generating an income, which makes this route a very attractive alternative to university!

Empowering the future workforce to recognise the climate emergency at hand

We are in a climate emergency. We are continuing to exploit natural resources at an unsustainable rate – and doing this despite the alarming predictions from scientists. We need to empower the future workforce to recognise such issues in their roles. Being able to contribute to a more sustainable future is a large piece of the puzzle in curbing humanity’s impact on the environment.

Everyone has an impact on the environment in their job (which can be big or small). If we can help people recognise this, and move away from unsustainable practices in the workplace, then this would be a positive achievement. It is important to address these issues now so that the practical change that is needed can take place before the opportunity is missed. The imperative to act now has never been more pressing.

James Ennis, member of the Institute’s construction route panel

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Shahjahan Shamim had a status update on Twitter 1 hour 22 minutes ago

RT @SrBachchan: T 3975 - .. travelled .. and the mahurat of first day tomorrow .. a new film a new beginning , a new environ .. 'NEW' never…
View Original Tweet

Tasneem Nusrat shared a photo. 1 hour 30 minutes ago

Shahjahan Shamim is the Youngest Artist

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page