The education sector is stepping up its commitment to supporting sustainability and tackling climate change.

The need for action on climate change was further highlighted when the UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in 2021.

The new Skills and Post-16 Education Act, commonly known as the “Skills Bill”, includes a key measure on prioritising green skills, with the aim that training on offer across the country meets the needs of the growing green economy and helps gets more people into jobs.

IfATE has introduced a green advisory panel to ensure the right skills are in place for the future workforce to deliver the green technology shift the UK needs. The panel will advise on enhancing current apprenticeships to meet employers’ needs in the growing green economy and creating new apprenticeships reflecting occupations needed to meet the challenge of reaching net-zero.

New sustainability and environmental awareness units

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, including:

"Learners need to know the truth about climate change - through knowledge-rich education. They must also be given the hope that they can be agents of change, through hands-on activity and, as they progress, through guidance and programmes allowing them to pursue a green career pathway in their chosen field."

Nadhim Zahawi MP, former Secretary of State for Education

The Association of Colleges has published a report, The Green College Commitment, setting out the role colleges can play in tackling climate change. College leaders have also written to the Prime Minister, the COP26 President, the Business Secretary and the Education Secretary highlighting the need for both young people and adults who need to retrain to have access to the education and skills needed to equip them for green jobs.

"The role of education and skills in tackling the challenges to society posed by climate change must not be underestimated. The government's plans for the transition to net-zero simply will not work without aligning education policy with climate and sustainability priorities - that includes embedding climate modules in all study courses."

David Hughes, Chief Executive of Association of Colleges

In their 2022 report, Excellence for learner, value for employers, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) highlights the positive enthusiasm from ITPs to help the country meet its targets for a minimum of 250,000 jobs by 2030 contained in the government’s plan for a “Green Industrial Revolution” (UK Government 2020), and held a successful inaugural Green Skills Summit in February 2022.

However, teaching this skill does present a major challenge to educators, as there is currently a real gap in training, knowledge and resources available to the sector to deliver for our learners. There is not just a need to train our learners on this, but to upskill and support those delivering training too.

"The positive news is that there's a real enthusiasm in the skills sector to ensure that we are not just responding to employer demand, but showing real leadership too.

The FE sector will play a crucial role in helping the government reach net zero and to transition towards a green economy by training, retraining and upskilling millions of people. AELP want to ensure that training providers are ready to meet future demand."

Nichola Hay MBE, Chair of AELP

Unit details

This new range of units supports environmental awareness and sustainability and covers practical and knowledge-based aspects.

Units with a practical focus

Improving sustainability in the workplace

Available at Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2, this 3 credit unit will help develop learners’ ability to plan for improved sustainability in a workplace

Entry 3Level 1Level 2

Taking personal responsibility for the environment

At Entry 3 and Level 1, this unit helps develop learners’ awareness of the ways in which they as individuals can be environmentally responsible.

Entry 3Level 1


Community environment project

This unit, available at Entry 3 and Level 1, helps to equip learners with the skills to engage successfully in community action to improve the local environment.

Entry 3Level 1

Access to HE: Sustainability Project

This ungraded Access to HE unit requires learners to plan, deliver and review a project to promote sustainability within a specific sector.

Access to HE

Knowledge-based units


Available at Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2, this unit will help develop learners’ understanding of sustainability and ways in which businesses can operate more sustainably.

Entry 3 | Level 1 | Level 2

Environmental awareness

Available at Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2, this unit helps develop learners’ understanding of climate change and the impact of human behaviour on the environment.

Entry 3 | Level 1 | Level 2

Domestic energy efficiency

Available at Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2, this unit will help develop understanding of domestic energy use and how to improve domestic energy efficiency.

Entry 3 | Level 1 | Level 2

Access to HE: The Fundamentals of Environmental Sustainability

This ungraded Access to HE unit helps learners develop their understanding of the importance of sustainability within a specific sector.

Access to HE 

I want to run these units

Complete our online form to enquire about running these units and a member of our Business Development team will be in touch.


If you’re not yet a recognised centre, find out what’s required and discuss your requirements with our Business Development team.

Get recognised

Download free sustainability and environmental awareness whitepaper

Sustainability and environmental awareness whitepaper download

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