Skip to main content

The Incenco Award for Education for Sustainable Development Synopses 2023/24


‘Code Red’ is about raising awareness of all aspects of the environmental crisis across the college and embedding sustainability in the culture of the college. Strands of the initiative include: • Free Green Skills courses for our own students and employers in Solar PV Panel Installation, Electric Vehicle Charging, Heat Pump Installation, Domestic Retrofit and Traditional Building Retrofit. • An ‘Environment Week’ running parallel to the COP Conference with specialist external speakers covering nuclear and hydrogen energy, climate science, recycling and waste management, energy reduction and carbon capture, bio diversity and animal welfare, against the backdrop of exploring what we as individuals can do to mitigate environmental degradation. • Separate versions of the Carbon Literacy Project produced and in use for Level 1, 2 & 3 students. • A ‘Back to the Rack’ recycled fashion shop in Reception managed by Business students and staffed by high-needs students. • 420 saplings from the Woodland Trust planted annually. • A student-led Environment Group which reports to the Principal. • A staff-led Sustainability Tactical Group sharing best sustainability practice. • Progressing the FE Climate Action Roadmap Net zero electricity, annual reductions in energy water and waste. Free travel for over 50% of students using public transport.

Solihull College & University Centre

The College is demonstrating leadership in support of the Government’s national ambitions for achieving net zero carbon in the UK by 2050 and has signed up to the West Midlands net zero pledge with a target to achieve scope 1, 2 and 3 net zero by 2030, in line with the AOC green commitment. The College’s pledge commitment will help to reduce the carbon emissions generated and will contribute to the regional target. This intention is led by a focused and proactive team delivering clearly communicated targets alongside a stakeholder group that includes students, the staffing body, employers and relevant agencies. Positively, this is an opportunity to create a better and sustainable future in terms of the environment, economy and health and well-being and the College is both proud of its achievements to date and laser focused on continually reviewing and improving its processes. With a rigourous cycle of self-assessment and improvement planning hard wired into the DNA of the Sustainability team, they benefit from a 100 strong (and growing) collective of Green Champions – volunteers from all areas of the College who enable the vision of the Senior Leadership Team and Sustainability Team to become an achievable reality.

Suffolk New College

In 2022-23, Suffolk New College delivered an ambitious College-wide green skills programme with sustainability embedded in enrichment projects, capital investments and curriculum development across College for a whole College transformation in teaching practice and project-led innovation. The programme culminated in a flagship regional Conference and Net Zero Skills Centre launch. The College chose to use SDF investment to not only fund regional flagship facilities and innovation activity, but also to enable multiple small-scale enrichment projects across all teams. Staff were supported and enabled to manage projects to embed sustainability in teaching practice and PD curriculum. The initiative generated a culture of project-based entrepreneurial ambition and a willingness throughout College to suggest and try new approaches and initiatives. The whole-College approach to becoming more sustainable and giving learners a sustainability mindset has created a lasting culture of change which will sustain and grow the benefits of the initiative over time.

New City College

Two low carbon technology labs delivering education in retrofit skills and the installation and maintenance of low carbon energy systems. A student-led final project creating an art booklet on climate change advocacy. A teaching and learning action research project focused on replacing printed materials with online tools. A beef-free college catering offer. A £1.1m grant for a campus heat decarbonisation project. These are practical examples of what becoming a greener college looks like and highlight our achievements in 2022/23. This nomination is not about a singular initiative or innovation. It’s about the implementation of a whole-college Green Strategy over a period of several years creating real change on the ground. Through a combination of strategic direction, careful investment and positive engagement, the college has become one of the leading FE providers on environmental sustainability. Above all, this nomination demonstrates that expensive consultancy, major capital investment and complete organisational buy-in are not necessary steps to move forward. Instead, the roll-out of green initiatives can be done incrementally over time with pilots inspiring new action. We can now evidence a reduced carbon footprint, increased buy-in and investment into decarbonisation and an increasing number of students benefitting from education for sustainable development.

Shipley College

Shipley College was the first college in the world to sign the SDG Accord in 2017, and from then we have been embedding best sustainable practice into all aspects of the college. But we wanted to do more, so Shipley College has collaborated with the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) to lead on an SDG project, working with the other colleges in West Yorkshire. Once the colleges had picked their “SDG Champions”, who were the first point of call on the project in their individual colleges, Shipley College led on the initial SDG training session. Once all SDG champions completed the session, they had the knowledge and resources to train internal staff at their colleges, in a cascading “train the trainer” approach. From this, staff in all the colleges were instructed to include the SDGs in their teaching and work, meaning students would learn about the SDGs, and how they could create sustainable impacts in their current college life and future careers. Each college had a bespoke approach, which meant that mini actions and projects had been met from different SDGS, providing West Yorkshire’s college staff, students and businesses with a range of different SDG knowledge and Green Skills.

If you have any questions, please contact the AoC Charitable Trust awards team.

A copy of the AoC privacy policy can be viewed here.