Green Changemakers At Fircroft College

In November 2023, Fircroft College was awarded funding from the West Midlands and Warwickshire Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) to lead a region wide project on wider green skills, a cross cutting theme within the WM&W LSIP. The project is widespread and included a regional Green skills summit in January 2024, with presentations from the Mayor, businesses, Chambers of commerce, academics and community leaders at the forefront of just transitions work. The project has also funded research into the current green skills offer across the region and the development of a green skills roadmap for the Adult and Further Education sector.   

A key, important focus of the project has been to pilot a supportive development programme for education staff in our colleges, across the region, to be able to embrace green skills in their curriculum and pedagogical practice. The LSIF funding enabled us to offer a variety of programmes to engage education staff with green skills.

Fifty educators attending the “Train the Green Skills Trainers” one day course learnt how to integrate the latest knowledge about green skills confidently into their subject areas.  Adult and Further Education teachers have been able to return to the classroom with new knowledge about sustainability that they can introduce to their students as part of their core learning. 

The “Green Changemakers Programme” is a longer course delivered one day per week for five weeks.  This deeper programme of educator development enabled learning about green skills in terms of curriculum and pedagogy and also how to enact change on sustainability and green skills within our colleges and learning organisations. Forty educators and other staff from 17 colleges participated in the green changemaker courses, both delivered twice at Fircroft College. After only a very short period of time, the impact of the changemakers is brilliant within their colleges.

At the end of the 4 courses, many actions have been implemented by the Green Changemakers  including:

  • 6 colleges immediately established their own internal sustainability groups for staff and students led by the Green Changemakers
  • All colleges have arranged internal and external presentations to not only staff and students but to the wider community as well as contributing to books, podcasts and online magazines and speaking at conferences
  • One college has introduced Green Walks with students to raise awareness of sustainability, “green” volunteering and climate change issues

In March 2023, to celebrate the end of the first phase of the green skills project we organised a green skills teacher conference which was attended by ninety educators from across the WM&W region. The action-ready squad of Green Changemakers took part in, and led. various sessions, discussions and panels, all looking at what THEY can take back to their colleges to inspire other staff and students.

Dr Lou Mycroft from Fircroft College says it’s a simple strategy: “It was launched to help tutors find their way in a world where most people want to do something but are petrified by #ecoanxiety. Green Changemaking is a game-changer, shifting those good intentions to sustainable change and aligning practice to strategy within their colleges.”