Sustainability is again back to the top of the agenda. The UK Governments bold Net Zero Carbon Target 2035, alongside refocussing the rebuilding of the economy based on growing a new green economy, championing new innovative green technologies, and creating a new workforce, with new skills and new ways of working is bold, welcome, and overdue
The immediate challenge for Colleges, Training Providers and SME's is to start on tackling their own 'sustainability' agenda.
At present there is no 'green' or sustainability accreditation system that is fit for purpose. This needs rapid investment, growth and development. There is a huge gap in the basic understanding of the underlying concepts and principles of sustainability, let alone a framework, or sustainability experts who can lead the way by developing and delivering sustainability audits and mitigation plans.
There is a no clear understanding of what needs to go into an organisations environmental policies and then how to actually implement them. The Association of Colleges (AoC) started on this pathway in 2020 working with NOUS to develop "A clear and feasible path to climate action for UK colleges" However, from what I understand, this like many other projects have been derailed and lost momentum due to the COVID-19 disaster.
From the curriculum perspective, there is a severe lack of appropriate currently funded and accredited qualifications available for use. There are some sector specific 'green elements' of study programmes but very few full qualification. For example, there was a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability. This has come to the end of its shelf life and at present no replacement is in place.
There is clearly lots of work to do in a number of different areas, in order to translate policy into practice for the whole of the economy, businesses, SME's, Colleges and Training Providers. I warmly welcome this major shift in policy and feel it is the right shift at exactly the right time.
There will be obvious challenges ahead, however as we now witnesses on a regular basis, climate change is now a reality and the climate change clock keeps on ticking. Hopefully we have at last witnessed the true start to the #greenrevolution. Be sure to book your tickets quick, as this is a train that none of us can afford to miss and hopefully it is able to run on time and to schedule!