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Bradford College focuses on Sustainability for Staff Development Day

Sustainability was the central theme of this year’s Staff Development Day programme at Bradford College. Staff came together to deliberate on the broad theme, covering everything from environmental sustainability to organisational sustainability and developing a sustainable workforce.

The event was an exciting opportunity to drive forward the college’s sustainability agenda and work together as an organisation to improve the impact on the environment.  All college teams were asked to contribute toward an overarching plan about what individuals can do to make a real difference.

The day commenced with an introduction by Sarah Cooper, Bradford College’s Director of People Services. Sarah reviewed what the organisation is already doing to progress sustainability aims. This was followed by training sessions led by various college staff speakers.

Kirstin Sawyer (Head of School for Education and Professional Studies) and Charlotte Bonner (ETF) explored ‘Education for Sustainable Development.’ Next, Greg O’Shea (Head of Department for Construction and Engineering) covered ‘Sustainable Behaviours.’ Fraser Wight (title) ran training on ‘Reducing waste and our carbon footprint.’ Bradford Council was also represented by Matt Findull who ran a session on the city’s Clean Air Zone Plan.

After this, staff broke off into teams to share ideas, debate, and formulate sustainability-focussed actions for each college department. The groups looked at new behaviours, reducing paper usage, and embedding education for sustainable development targets. Ideas are now being fed into a cross-college sustainability action plan.

The afternoon covered a broad range of development activities where staff considered personal development, create career development plans, and explore the learning and development programmes available at Bradford College, such as apprenticeships.

Rebecca Walsh, Industry Placement Officer, said:
“I really enjoyed the session on apprenticeships and finding out the options that are available to me as a member of staff to help me continue my CPD. It was good to have the opportunities explained to me as I thought apprenticeships were only aimed at the 16-18-year-olds.”

Becky has since discussed her options with the College L&D Business Partner, Claire Shakespeare, who is supporting Becky to decide on which programme best fits her career aspirations.

The day concluded with insightful sessions on the importance of diversity and inclusion in becoming a sustainable organisation and workforce, virtual learning to improve digital skills, and exploring new technologies to future-proof teaching. Well done to everyone involved in such a successful day.

Greg O’Shea, Head of Department for Construction and Engineering, Bradford College:

Bradford College is leading the development of ‘Behaviours for a Sustainable Bradford,’ a framework for the whole city region to come together and unify our community’s passion for where we live, learn, and work by promoting five democratically chosen key behaviours.

287 staff helped take that first step when they ‘gave their word’ and stated the behaviour they felt we should focus on when helping young people prepare to be ‘in charge’ of climate change and making Bradford a kinder and more beautiful place to be.

The roll-out will now follow to all Bradford College students, before being extended to all schoolchildren, teachers and businesses within the region. After 20,000+ responses (of suggested words describing behaviours) we will then select the most common five behaviours, create the BSB charter, and lead cross-city activities to encourage active participation.

Nosheen Qamer, Head of Learning & Talent, Bradford College:

As a college, we are on a journey to achieve ‘outstanding’, and to do this we need to be ambitious in our approach. This includes taking important themes such as sustainability and adopting a ‘one college’ approach to putting in place actions for all to work towards and holding ourselves accountable.

Embedding environmental, educational, and societal sustainability goals are key for a future-focussed college, as is workforce sustainability. We need to ensure staff are given a broad range of opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge, and awareness, at the right time for them, and a number of sessions in the afternoon related to this.

Development opportunities will support staff to grow, achieve, thrive and therefore be able to meet the needs of our students now, and in the future, ensuring the whole student journey is an outstanding one.”

Sarah Cooper, Director of People Services, Bradford College:

I ran a workshop on Personal Development. It was designed to support staff in reviewing where they are with their career, how they would like to develop further in terms of career aspiration, and what they would need to do to get there.

Staff members took away some tools, guidance, and actions to support them with their career development and how to ensure this is captured in their Personal Development Review and objectives.

The feedback from staff was overwhelmingly positive. We will be running some further sessions and longer workshops.

Kirstin Sawyer Head of School for Education and Professional Studies, Bradford College:

I introduced the concept of Education for Sustainable Development with Charlotte Bonner from the Education Training Foundation and Angela Loftus, Lecturer in Fashion.

The key message about embedding the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals into the curriculum has hopefully stimulated debate and encouraged innovative ideas.

Everyone has a role to play in educating our students about sustainability and there is much good practice out there already. We just need to share it more. 

Published: 8th April 2022

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