The Great Greenwashing of the Further Education & Skills Sector

With COP26 on the horizon, Net Zero Carbon in the news daily and with the #greenrevolution and #buildbackgreener clearly under way, everyone is scrambling to board the sustainability train.

This is in essence great, however when you have a last-minute scramble of this nature, with no real road map, plan or framework in place, mixed results are inevitable. This is one that we can not afford to get wrong, as the clock is ticking …

There is a huge void in sector leadership, experience, and action in the sustainability arena. A perfect opportunity exists to develop a common framework, resources, toolkits, training,

signposting, standards, and accreditation all together in a single package in a single place.

The lack of an overarching FE sector strategy in sustainability has resulted in a new form of eco-anxiety expressing itself in a spate of new job titles, initiatives, projects, and posts.

I do not doubt the intentions are good, however, with all types of ‘silo’ working, you truly only get one result.

As a passionate sector devotee, with over 20 years’ experience and a background as a trained environmental consultant, I am trying to play an active a role in shaping policy and practice in this area.

I am working with some colleges on the Skills Accelerator Trailblazers, using the Strategic Development Fund (SDF) to inject pace and capacity into meeting the skills gap to address decarbonisation agenda and developing Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIP’s). I have developed a Level 1 Award in Environmental Sustainability, specifically for the sector, which is being accredited.

I do fear, that unless we have an agreed plan, roadmap, framework, and accreditation that this greenwashing will prevail. I would say that 95% of the required elements already exist and they just need pulling together in a strategic and coordinated way; let us not miss the opportunity to get it right!

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