A refurbishment project at a West Midlands university has achieved a prestigious gold rating for environmental good practice.

Aston University has become only the second national higher education provider to attain a SKA HE Gold rating, following the refurbishment of its biology and pharmacy departments.

Office fit out and refurbishment specialist, Overbury, worked alongside the university and other partners through the assessment tool, which contains more than 100 good practice measures covering energy and COemissions, waste, water, materials, pollution, wellbeing and transport.

Works included demolishing brick walls within the university’s main building, installing new mechanical and engineering services, using glass partitions to create multiple research and postgraduate office space and the removal of a suspended ceiling to allow for more natural light.

Research undertaken by Overbury demonstrates a majority of existing and prospective students are interested in knowing the green credentials of their universities. 

Dr Joe Croft, head of environmental and sustainability at Overbury and SKA technical committee member, said: 

“SKA HE is an invaluable tool for the higher education sector as it provides a set of benchmarks for designers and contractors which have been developed to meet the specific needs of the HE sector. The scheme has already brought value to many universities, with many more looking to use the scheme in the coming years.

“The demand from students for sustainable environments that have minimal environmental impact is huge. Achieving a SKA HE rating gives universities the chance to gain an advantage over their competitors and drive improvements in the lifecycle of their spaces.

“Having had a role in developing the scheme, we’re encouraged to see its real-life impact onsite and are pleased to have helped Aston University achieve what it set out to do. Every effort was made to embed SKA into all aspects of the fit out and we’re grateful to our supply chain for rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in – it was a real team effort.”

Many UK universities are structured around older buildings that were created more than a century ago when the establishments were founded. The ability to fit out these historical spaces presents a complex set of challenges, especially when it comes to sustainable practice. 

Launched by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2016, SKA HE provides a benchmark for the interior fit out and refurbishment of higher education projects by measuring the specialist spaces of universities including lecture theatres, research laboratories and teaching areas.

Andrew Bryers, energy and sustainability manager at Aston University, said:

“We are hugely proud to be have been awarded a SKA HE Gold rating. This rating demonstrates that sustainability considerations have been incorporated into all aspects of the refurbishment project, from design to handover. As a university we are committed to leading from the front in terms of environmental and sustainability issues and hope that this is the first of many gold-rated projects at Aston.”

A leader in sustainable fit out, Overbury has achieved a series of firsts on environmentally assessed projects, including participation in the development of the SKA HE rating and delivering the fit out of the UK’s only other gold rated project at University College London in 2017. 

Overbury completed a series of transformational projects within the education sector last year, including schemes at the University of Warwick, Staffordshire University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham, in works valuing a total of around £7 million. 

The SKA HE Gold Aston University project was delivered by Overbury in partnership with Robothams Architects, Consulting LLP, PMP Consultants and SDA Limited. The project was assessed and submitted by Aston University’s energy and sustainability manager, Andrew Bryers. 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

The Environmental Impacts of Remote Work: Stats and Benefits: Working from home is a necessity rather than a luxury… https://t.co/NEJrovahxg
View Original Tweet

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