Environmental Management Systems and Auditing Course

Since 1998, the Institute of Technology, Sligo has run a distance learning course in Environmental Management Systems and Auditing. The course is ideal for individuals who have responsibility for the environmental management of an activity.


Tutors are drawn from the Environmental Science and Engineering departments within the Institute - as well as national experts from such organisations as -

  • EPA,
  • NSAI,
  • Certification Europe,
  • Sustainable Energy Ireland - and
  • industry.

This combination provides the most up-to-date regulatory and technical information for course participants.

In addition to the tutors, the Institute has forged innovative links with local industries to enable course participants partake in the practical aspects of auditing. Participants to-date are drawn from a wide range of industry sectors, environmental consulting, veterinary practice, Local Authority and other semi-state bodies.

Those who graduate from the course have -

  • knowledge of the latest practice in environmental management
  • knowledge of - and reference to - material concerning a wide range of environmental legislation
  • auditing practice
  • a completed project, which will have moved their organisation's EMS forward.

The duration of the course is approximately 7 months, but the required attendance time is only 6 days - so participants can study and work. The study material comprises self-teach manuals that provide a working knowledge of environmental impacts and control, environmental legislation, EMS standards and auditing.

Course participants attend a one-day (Saturday) workshop, where they receive all the distance learning material required for the course and where the course format is explained. Study methods and access to tutors are also discussed at the workshop. Many participants form links with co-participants to establish informal study-group networks.

In the 3 months following the introductory workshop, the participants study all material in the 5 Modules of distance material provided. During this 'learning' period, participants are sent assessments which they complete and return within a designated time. All participants are encouraged to seek help with difficulties and have access to support during this period.

Module 1
EMS Standards

Section 1: Overview of Environmental Issues & Policy
Section 2: Implementing Environmental Policy (IPPC, BAT, etc.)
Section 3: Structure of an Environmental Management System (EMS)
Section 4: ISO 14001
Section 5: EMAS
Section 6: Implementing an EMS
Section 7: Integration of EMS with other Activities and Systems (Quality, Health & Safety, etc)


Module 2
Environmental Knowledge
Section 1: Air
Section 2: Wastewater
Section 3: Waste
Section 4: Soil
Section 5: Ecosystems
Section 6: Transportation
Section 7: Energy
Section 8: Materials
Section 9: Water Use
Section 10: Impacts (noise, odour, etc.)


Module 3
Industry and the Environment
Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Industry Classifications, NACE codes
Section 3: Management Structures
Section 4: Pollution potential of specific industries


Module 4
Legislation & the Law
Section 1: Legislation
Section 2: The Courts
Section 3: European Law
Section 4: Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
Section 5: Licensing Systems
Section 6: Water
Section 7: Air
Section 8: Waste
Section 9: EIA and others.


Module 5
EMS Auditing
Section 1: Introduction to Environmental Auditing
Section 2: Role of NSAI, NAB and other Accrediting bodies
Section 3: Role of Certifiers, Verifiers, Auditors
Section 4: Setting the boundaries - designing an Audit programme
Section 5: The Audit
Section 6: Audit Follow-Up
Section 7: Trends and Developments

At the end of this 3 month period, participants come to Sligo for a one-week attended workshop where they -

  • attend lectures, which supplement and augment the distance material
  • hear talks from practitioners (from NAB, Certification Europe, EPA, industry, etc.) experienced in the field of auditing and EMS
  • complete and on-site audit
  • decide - with the help of tutors - what the topic of their project will be (the project will be heavily dependent on the needs of the participant's own company)
  • discuss case studies, problems and experiences with practitioners and tutors - and with their peer group.

In the 3 months following the workshop, participants are expected to complete their project (with help from tutors, where necessary) and study for the final examination.

At the end of the 'study/project period', participants come for one day to Sligo to present to one another and to tutors, the project which they have completed.

Participants also sit an examination around this time.

Currently NERAC holds 1 course per year - with the next course due to start early in 2006.

Successful participants receive a Certificate in Environmental Management Systems and Auditing.

Contact details
Margaret Savage
Department of Environmental Science
Institute of Technology Sligo
Tel: +353 (0)71 9155395
Email: [email protected]



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