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How The Skills Network is taking on Climate Change

Details: Written by Eleanor Lodge |

With COP26 due to take place at the end of the month, talks of the climate crisis are hot. The global UN summit, being described as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement, will gather more than 200 of the world’s leaders together to discuss environmental issues and how countries are planning to tackle these.

With the likes of Prince William now publicly pushing those highest in the commercial world to direct investments away from space tourism and instead, into saving the Earth, the need for training to fill the knowledge gap on climate issues is high.

Why now, to act on climate change?

Current warming trends are indisputably attributed to human activity since the mid-20th century, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels has resulted in the greenhouse effect, warming of the Earth as the atmosphere traps heat insde.

Through unsustainable activities like deforestation, land use changes, and burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by 48% since the Industrial Revolution began.

Without changes in these behaviours, temperatures will continue to increase, alongside more droughts, heat waves and a sea level rise of a predicted 1-8 ft by 2100. The climate needs support and with the demand to reach net zero, de-carbonisation and carbon negative targets now paramount to protecting the future of the planet, the agreements made at COP26 will prove a make or break moment in the history of climate action.

What does this mean for the education sector?

With the growth of the green sector, the demand for environmental sustainability and green skills in the workplace is becoming clear. But while the development of these skills may prove key to employability, skills development in environmental issues remains the answer to changing societal behaviours.

Earlier this year, FE Week published an article on the sustainability roadmap for FE and HE institutions in the UK. The UNESCO 2030 roadmap is clear on its instruction, calling for climate-ready learning environments, empowerment and upskilling of educators as well as more support for youth mobilisation on climate action.

Now, individuals must know how their choices, as citizens and consumers, impact on the climate and the lives of future generations. A growing body of research is highlighting the concerns of those from younger generations, with Gen Z’s and Millennials now the most active groups in addressing climate change. Recent research by Deloitte has shown that for Gen Z, the environment is their number one concern, closely followed by unemployment and health care/disease prevention. The reasons for such concerns are clear; Our young people are watching disaster after disaster unfold, and it is now, more than ever, time to act to prevent the biggest disaster of all.

Those of us working within the skills sector are clear on our responsibility in this fight and we at The Skills Network are leading on this with the development of our training provisions.

How can training providers support those looking to take action?

There is a lack of training and resources on practical sustainability and carbon reduction methods on a national scale in the UK and as a market leading provider of learning and skills, we at The Skills Network, have urgently developed an innovative end-to-end learning solution to meet the demands of those operating within the education space. We are leading on the national delivery of sustainability training, accessing those operating in industries far removed from the “green sector”.

For educators, our fool proof provision and expert content allows teachers to embed environmental sustainability into their own subject. We are able to train staff while providing adaptable, sector specific examples and practical applications of sustainability practices, and provide the resources to develop this knowledge for students. Through the quality of our technology and expertly developed course content, educators can now become sustainability champions – instantly! And it is the simplicity and accessibility of this resource that will prove key in the fight against environmental disaster.

The critical element here is the impact of our training. We do not need more people to simply know more things, but rather to feel able, empowered and ready to do more. To meet this challenge, and to address the sustainability skills gap, we are launching a suite of transformative solutions

Our new suite of fully accredited training courses cover key topics related to environmental sustainability including the control of global warming, reducing carbon emission and efficient energy management, with embedded case studies and activities throughout. Our sustainability content is delivered through two Level 2 Certificates in Sustainability and Sustainability Impact for Work. The content has been developed to align with the UN’s 17 sustainable Development Goals, addressing the global challenges we face including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice.

Through the first three modules, students will explore the key principles of sustainable developments, communities and energy management. This content is closely aligned to SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. The remaining four modules explore themes of social responsibility for businesses, the principles of waste management, sustainable transport and a module exploring the application of sustainability principles in applicable settings.

Throughout each unit there are opportunities to apply learning, including small home based tasks and larger ideas for college based activities. This approach allows for the development of competency-based sustainability knowledge and skills that can be aligned to multiple roles and sectors, making learners more employable and able to use the practical skills developed to effect positive changes within society.

The content is aligned to the global context. As well as incorporating the concepts from the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we have embedded key information from the biggest summits on climate change on an international scale, allow the development of the most relevant and expert sustainability training provision produced to date.

To help transform cultures, systems, communities and societies, this offer is designed to find ways to meet the people where they are, and shrink the distance between the issues we collectively face and the personal choices we make every day.

The courses are available is at no cost for educators, funded by the Government’s Adult Education Budget and will be deployed to schools and institutes across the country through our award-winning learner management system Equal.

The development and delivery of such content looks to lead the way in sustainability and climate education on a national scale, encouraging educators and students to equip themselves with the tools necessary to change the direction of the climate crisis now.

For more information on The Skills Network’s sustainability courses and to sign up click here