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Education is key to a green future

Alongside our premier partner, Learning Curve Group, we have committed to promote and advance learning around supporting the environment with the launch of our new climate change qualification. We discuss the reasons why this qualification is an essential element of the employability skills for learners now and future generations.

We need action on climate change

In the last 18 months, conversations about climate change amongst the general public and the mainstream press have multiplied at pace. The content of these conversations and their accessibility are largely due to instances of pivotal activism in recent months. Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned speech at the World Economic Forum and is, at the time of publication (Friday 12 June 2020) in week 94 of her ‘school strike for climate change’. Scientists have been talking about climate change for decades, but Greta Thunberg’s accusations that her hopes and dreams for the future had been ‘stolen’ hit home for many people in a way that had not yet been realised to date.

The result has been a swath of further instances of action on climate change by newly galvanised activists:

  • September 2019 saw climate strikes as part of the Global Week for Future, with millions of people involved worldwide.
  • Local authorities declared climate emergencies throughout 2019, with more than 100 doing so by 2020.
  • There were more global climate strikes on Valentine’s Day 2020.
  • In April 2020, Extinction Rebellion held a large demonstration in London. This lasted for 11 days and brought some of the capital’s busiest roads to a standstill.

In January, devastating credibility was given to the climate change movement with the world watching in horror as many parts of Australia were destroyed by bushfires. It’s reported that this was almost certainly as a result of global warming.

What does this mean for businesses?

The result of recent developments in this area has sparked the want and need for more information and education on this topic and how to make a real difference. Low carbon jobs, climate change experts, and internal activists are key to ensuring businesses are well placed to be able to make a contribution to tackle climate change.

As such, industries across the board are bringing this topic to the forefront of their future infrastructure. Climate change can no longer be a side project or a token gesture. The public will no longer stand for lip service and there is an appetite for real change that simply cannot be ignored. The public are beginning to vote with their feet and their pound, turning their backs on businesses who don’t make environmental sustainability a priority.

Now is the time to act and for businesses to take an inward look at their own carbon footprint and the skills their staff need to support them to do better. To not address this skills gap could not only be catastrophic for the balance sheet, but the world over.

Upskilling your current workforce to reduce your carbon impact

To support businesses to address climate change, there needs to be a revaluation to what we believe fundamental employability skills and where an understanding of climate change comes in to that. Embedding this knowledge within careers education or as part of a study programme, apprenticeship or traineeship, will ensure that those entering the workforce are equipped with a foundation of knowledge that will support their employer to make good choices and positive changes.

For the current workforce, learning and development professionals should seek to make this set of skills and knowledge an integral part of their ongoing training and growth strategies. 

A new qualification to support clean growth

NCFE, alongside our premier partner Learning Curve Group, has recognised the need for a new qualification in this area to support learners to develop these vital skills and to support their employability in these areas.

The Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness launched on 1 June 2020 and is suitable for learners aged 14 and over and is eligible for AEB funding from the ESFA. We’d encourage providers and employers who are interested in this qualification to submit an enquiry or to contact [email protected] and start a conversation about how to implement a green curriculum for your learners.

Read next: How to support adult learners into low carbon jobs

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