From education to employment

AoC publication highlights colleges which are adopting green practices.

Colleges which are leading the way in “going green” are showcased in a brochure launched today.

The Association of Colleges is using the publication to show how FE institutions are implementing a green agenda. Colleges which have incorporated this into their buildings and estates include Somerset College’s Genesis Centre, which used recycled materials such as newspaper, wood and jeans in its insulation. Walford and North Shropshire College’s new £2.7million teaching facility, The Harris Centre, is designed to incorporate a number of energy-saving features, including an “anaerobic digester” which generates additional electricity by converting cow slurry from the college farm into methane gas fuel.

Other colleges are mentioned for the innovative environmental courses that they run.

Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, said he was delighted that colleges “have proved their commitment and ingenuity in establishing sustainable into their buildings, the curriculum and their work with employers and local communities.”

“Further education colleges are taking a head-on approach to environmental sustainability,” agreed John Bingham, AoC Board Chair. “They have a unique place and a far reaching impact which put them in a strong position to embed green practices in our lives.

The University and College Union backed the initiative. UCU president, Linda Newman, said: “UCU looks forward to developing cooperation with colleges to help find new ways of working and living in a low carbon age. The union is in the early stages of developing work on sustainability but has begun to establish a network of interested UCU members. Some of our reps are involved in developing college policies on buildings adaptations, energy conservation and transport to work policies and we shall be looking at our own carbon footprint.

” It is important to develop new courses to cope with future environmental and scientific needs, but also to find ways of getting sustainability into every element of the curriculum. It is an idea which must permeate all that we do. “

The AoC wants to see more “green” developments and is calling for funding for energy efficiency projects, a proposal that the LSC is currently considering. They also propose more affordable public transport for students under the age of 18.

Another measure that AoC is championing is the development of a comprehensive “green” resource bank by The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges and future collaboration between the LSC and colleges to audit sustainable development within institutions.

Rosie Spowart

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