From education to employment

Sustainability Academy shortlisted for the Net-Zero Energy Transition Awards

For the first time, Scotland’s renewable energy industry and its growing supply chain will come together to celebrate the achievements of the diverse Scottish supplier network, honouring the tenacity of those playing a key role in supporting Scotland’s net-zero targets. The College is delighted to be announced as a finalist in the “Green Energy Skills Award” category, once again being recognised as playing a key role in supporting Scotland’s journey to Net-Zero.

The Green Energy Skills Award celebrates individuals, groups or organisations going above and beyond to ensure a smooth transition of the energy workforce. This includes initiatives supporting early careers, training and qualifications, industry standards and those either making the move from a background in traditional fossil fuel energy generation or adding to their skillset to work across both sectors through the transition.

The submission was focussed on The Sustainability Academy launched by the College in 2021. Funding secured through the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund has enabled the College to research, develop and deliver fully-funded training to future leaders and entrepreneurs, focussing on natural capital skills and the green economy.

The Academy is based on four main projects:

Natural Capital Entrepreneurship Training

With this project The College has been able to offer fully-funded courses ranging from Designing for Circular Economy Zero Waste to a Sustainable Value Workshop, Sustainable Procurement to Carbon Warrior training. Tailored to the needs of long-term unemployed, older job seekers, self-employed and micro businesses, the short courses, delivered over a few months, educate students in the art of entrepreneurship with a strong focus on natural capital opportunities in the Scottish Borders, and, the Green economy.

Carbon Literacy

The aim of this project is to deliver a range of Carbon Literacy learning packages to help people understand the costs and impacts of everyday activities, and help motivate them to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions on an individual, business, or community level. Through this project the college is targeting people most in need and supporting community renewal.

The College are currently piloting the Carbon Literacy programme with the Local Housing Association, Primary Schools and within Borders College itself.

Land Estates

Through this project Borders College is seeking to develop a new model of Natural Capital collaboration with rural farmers and landowners that integrates its successful land services engagement model, with complimentary sustainable development upskilling, enhancing areas including digital, advanced manufacturing & construction, renewable energy & energy efficiency solutions, biodiversity measurement, and the wellbeing economy.

The College has completed a feasibility study which asked people within the rural and agricultural community what their areas of interest were, the results showed across the board the principal interests are in Carbon Literacy, Net-zero and Sustainable Practices, Nature skills and Ecology and Impact Assessment for Sustainable Social Value. Using this information, The College are now able to develop and deliver courses that are most relevant to the community. 

Green Recovery Supply Chain

Achieving net-zero is increasingly important, and whilst initial reductions in carbon emissions might be straightforward, the journey gets harder as you progress. Through the Green Recovery Supply Chain project, The College had been running feasibility studies with the aim to understand the collaboration needed with existing local sole traders and micro businesses as we move to net-zero, to encourage new enterprises to add to the capacity across the Borders, and, to encourage small businesses to work collaboratively to deliver larger contracts.

The information from the scoping study will lead to the development of training around procurement and sustainability in the supply chain to remove the barriers around cost, location, and timing that were identified in the study.

Jane Grant, Executive Director ‑ Enterprise and Business Innovation, commented:

“Borders College is delighted to have been short-listed as a finalist in the Net-Zero Energy Transition Awards 22. 

“We are committed to delivering on net-zero as an organisation through our Sustainability Strategy and through the huge programme of upskilling and reskilling that will help our businesses and communities reach those goals too.”

The College understands that affecting behavioural change is one of the biggest challenges we face on the journey to Net-Zero. The Sustainability Academy is making huge progress in tackling that challenge, by giving individuals and employers the support and knowledge they need to instigate change in their everyday lives and working environments. The College is thrilled that this project has been recognised by Scottish Renewables and hope to inspire and enable individuals and businesses to join us on our mission towards a more sustainable future.

The Net-Zero Energy Transition Awards will take place on Thursday 25 August at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen.

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