From education to employment

Continuing Manju Rani’s Analysis of Report on Sustainability and the FE Sector

Continuing on from part one reporting on the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC’s) Sustainable Development in the Learning and Skills Sector research report, part two will now be reviewing the impact of the findings.

The report findings have revealed that many providers have begun to recognise and are putting an emphasis on the importance of sustainability and environmental issues, particularly in relation to four key areas: management, buildings, curriculum and the community.

Welcoming Findings

Mary Heslop, Policy Director at the LSC, has welcomed the report findings. She said: “The findings represent a real achievement for the FE sector. Not only is the sector working hard to improve the learning environments for our students but our efforts are crucially educating learners, teachers and the wider community on how to live in a more sustainable and environmentally aware way.”

Programme Manager Judith Cohen from the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) said: “The sustainability agenda gives learning providers two opportunities to lead the way. Firstly, they can equip the workforce with the skills to take part in the growing green economy and take sustainability principles into the wider community. Secondly, they can reduce their own impact on the environment, and set the standard for other organisations. There are pockets of good practice, but institutions could do more to champion and model the social, economic and environmental agendas that underpin sustainable development.”

The Limits

However, the Sustainable Development in the Learning and Skills Sector research report has revealed that there are limits to the level of emphasis on sustainability amongst providers on an organisational/management, curriculum and buildings level. These limits can be as a result of a lack of cost, time, information sharing and support and guidance.

So, whilst the majority of providers recognise the importance of sustainable development, some are unable to follow this through with a fully integrated sustainability strategy. Therefore, the differences and impact of sustainable development activities from provider to provider can be vast with a relative few showing good practice.

At the LSC’s recent conference “From Here to Sustainability” these report findings were the central theme. The LSC announced their expectations on all providers to carry out a sustainability audit and also to put in place a sustainable development action plan. Following the report, the LSC commissioned another report examining the relationship between design, quality, costs and sustainable development.

This report has resulted in a 10% increase of capital funding for providers for sustainable development elements of building design, construction and services.

Manju Rani

What does the monkey say? Find out in From the FE Trenches!

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