Energy is front and centre in the public’s mind. Global warming, climate crises, green energy, the cost of fuel, warnings of blackouts in winter and more are never far from news headlines.

But what can further education do to help when it comes to powering our futures? We spoke with Rachel Bunn, Director of East Coast Energy Training Academy at East Coast College in Suffolk and Norfolk to find out what difference the college is making.

Rachel told us: “The college has created student and staff ambassador roles to challenge and research best practice, not only in terms of resources but also working practices and lifestyle changes.”

“And it’s looking at its curriculum too, it’s reviewing emerging technologies in the energy and domestic sectors, to ensure that its curriculum is up-to-date and meeting current and future needs.”

Review emerging technologies in the energy and domestic sectors to ensure that the curriculum is up-to-date and meets current and future needs.

Rachel Bunn, Director of East Coast Energy Training Academy, East Coast College

Rachel explained the importance of this, she said: “This is vital if we are to meet net zero targets, but we also have a great opportunity to help the wider community, employers, and schools to make a difference.”

The UK has committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, renewable energy will play a big role in the country achieving this. In 1991, renewables accounted for just 2% of all electrical generation in the UK, today around 43% of the UK’s power comes from a mix of wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectric sources – there is still a long way to go and there are lots of opportunities.

Partnership working is a great strength at East Coast College, and it recognises that the future of our energy is not just the responsibility of the young, the college worked with Gateway Qualifications to help shape the curriculum for the over 19s.

Rachel said: “New progression units have allowed Entry to Level 2 curriculum offer to be reshaped, including for those adults looking to retrain into the clean energy sector.”

And the clean energy sector looks to be a promising career move. In 2021, a report revealed that the UK’s low carbon and green economy is now worth over £200 billion, with over 1.2 million people employed within the ‘green’ sector across 75,000 businesses.

The green and sustainability sector is now four times larger than the UK’s manufacturing sector.

Embedding sustainability and the green agenda

To help Centres respond to the challenge and embed sustainability and environmental awareness within their curriculums newly developed, up-to-date units have been added to a range of our qualifications, all of which are fundable for both 16-19-year-olds and adults.

Learn more and download free whitepaper