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Inspire sustainability evaluation report 2023

Fogg Rogers, Laura; Laggan, Sophie

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Dr Laura Fogg Rogers Laura.Foggrogers@uwe.ac.uk
Associate Professor of Knowledge Exchange in Engineering

Sophie Laggan



Abstract

‘Inspire Sustainability’ builds on the success of several regional programmes bringing together industry, education, and the community to progress innovation and expertise in sustainable solutions. Developing awareness, knowledge, and aspirations for green skills and jobs is essential to ensure the West of England continues to progress as a leader in green technology and behaviour change for Net Zero. Furthermore, the project aimed to highlight our leading role models from a diverse workforce, in order to ensure equitable participation in a net zero future.

Funding from the Green Futures Fund enabled the project to work with three Cabot Learning Federation (CLF) Schools (Hans Price Academy, Bristol Brunel Academy, and Digitech Studio School) to trial an approach to whole-school Sustainability Summits. The project brought together the DETI Sustainability Solutions and WeCount lesson plans with role models from the STEM Ambassadors programme, recruited by Graphic Science. A linked grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering enabled the We Make Our Future planetarium show to visit Hans Price Academy, with Bristol Brunel Academy students visiting UWE Bristol to take part in the show. The events took place from November 2022-January 2023, with over 1000 pupils from Hans Price Academy, over 1250 from Bristol Brunel Academy, and over 150 pupils from Digtech Studio School taking part.

Our consortium will continue to deliver and disseminate outcomes wider to primary and secondary schools, through our links to Curiosity Connections Network, Future Quest, Children’s University Bristol and South Gloucestershire, Wessex Inspiration Network, Bristol Education Partnership and the WECA Careers Hub. The CLF school communities will continue to be supported on their net zero journey through a new Enthuse Partnership and Teacher Encounters project with STEM Learning. Further opportunities will also be shared with the student-led organisation Avon Schools Eco-Network, which connects schools across the West to inspire climate action.

This report details the evaluation from the programme, including the finalised Curriculum materials and Eco Club action plans. We have evaluated against the theory of change, whereby all activities are assumed to contribute to the West of England’s goal for tackling climate change, committing to net zero carbon by 2030 – by supporting local people to develop their skills and access new green jobs. The final project recommendations for future green jobs activities are included below.

• Connecting learning and skills to future opportunities in green jobs requires interactive activities linked to curriculum structures.
Working across curricula presented issues with timetabling and sheer numbers of students. It is therefore recommended that green jobs materials are tailored for each subject. However, the breadth of subjects involved in sustainability indicates that resources need to move beyond science and geography and encompass green jobs in subjects such as Religious Studies and Arts. Activities need to include interactive elements with practical activities linked to young people’s mainstream interests such as football or social media.
There is also a need for cross-curricula working, as many green jobs draw on skills developed through a breadth of subjects. This lead needs to come from school Senior Leadership Teams, through allocating time for teachers to map sustainability across curricula, and across year groups within schools or academies. This will provide a comprehensive and holistic linkage for students to understand how sustainable development includes economic, societal and environmental issues.

• Motivating and inspiring students was most effective with in person sessions involving green job role models.
The students preferred in person sessions where they could directly meet role models and Climate Ambassadors. They indicated that they would like to see more careers fayres with directed activities, more field trips to green job sites, and more work experience with green job employers.

• Access to pathways requires clear green job career routes.
The students indicated that they were enthused by green jobs; they felt they were important, they thought diverse people were involved, and they wanted to make the world a better place. However, these overarching goals needed to be connected to local routes into courses, training, or employment connected to the green jobs profiled. This presents a problem of breadth and depth; the aim of this project was to showcase the breath of green jobs and sustainability solutions available, but it meant that we did not discuss in depth how to achieve each job or solution.
Green jobs need to be presented as part of a comprehensive careers education, linking curricula with specific green jobs, with detailed information about how to develop the skills and qualifications needed. However, many green jobs and sustainability solutions are being developed at present, so this is an exponentially developing field. Careers education providers will need to partner with schools to provide further information as the transition to net zero continues.

• Eco action needs to relate to locally relevant issues or topics and enables employer engagement.
Young people involved in eco action can feel despondent that societal change is not progressing quickly and may feel eco anxiety about climate change disasters being discussed in the news. Collective action can reduce feelings of eco anxiety and can develop the skills needed to empower and inspire young people towards green jobs. Schools should enable young people to have a voice in the development of sustainability action plans, which are now required in the 2023 National Curriculum for SLT Leadership on Sustainability.
Local collective action on sustainability issues, such as local climate action plans, nature enhancement, or litter picking, are particularly effective to inspire and motivate young people. Real world, local, and attainable projects encourage students to engage with citizenship curriculum objectives and thereby develop skills and competencies for green jobs. School and community projects can also provide tangible opportunities for local employers to engage with schools, thereby enhancing careers opportunities within the curriculum. Working together means schools can feasibly attain sustainability targets while also inspiring young people to remain positive about their future.  

Citation

Fogg Rogers, L., & Laggan, S. (2023). Inspire sustainability evaluation report 2023. West of England Combined Authority

Report Type Project Report
Online Publication Date May 26, 2023
Publication Date Apr 27, 2023
Deposit Date May 26, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/10822223

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