Eastleigh College and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) have today confirmed a new partnership between the two bodies. IEMA is the professional body for everyone that works in the environment and sustainability fields, representing over 18,000 people. This collaboration sees Eastleigh become IEMA’s first partner in the Further Education sector, with the joint ambition that this partnership will see many more colleges partnering with IEMA to deliver the training and skills needed for the transition to a sustainable economy.

Eastleigh College has set out a strong foundation to sustainability education and training. This foundation is based upon awareness raising of sustainability issues through a wide range of community learning opportunities. The College has provided an initial training opportunity to develop general sustainability knowledge and skills through Eastleigh College Online. The College is also already providing specialist sustainability training in the field of renewable energy.

Sarah Mukherjee MBE, Chief Executive Officer at IEMA said:

“I am thrilled to welcome Eastleigh College into our IEMA membership.

“It’s critical that all sectors work together to ensure people have the education and skills needed to deliver a net-zero, climate-resilient economy. IEMA is very much looking forward to expanding this conversation with the Further Education community.”

Paul Cox, Chief Executive at Eastleigh College said:

“It is our ambition that this partnership with IEMA will not only benefit Eastleigh learners, but also that IEMA quickly becomes the established professional body for all sustainability related provision across the college sector. Through partnership it is therefore hoped that every college, and every learner who completes general, or specialist sustainability training at any one of the over 200 colleges in the country will benefit.”

Steve Frampton, FE/HE Climate Commissioner at the Association of College’s said:

“The Eastleigh and IEMA partnership is a brilliant and timely development that has such potential for the whole college sector and has the potential to really boost the sector’s green skills agenda. In total 1.7m learners study or train at colleges every year, as such colleges present a fantastic platform for which to increase the access to high quality sustainability education and training that will be essential to deliver our collective net zero ambitions. I look forward to working with Eastleigh College, IEMA and other partners to increase the range of funded and accredited opportunities at Levels 2 and 3."

This partnership foundation is the basis upon which the College plans to commit to introducing further sustainability education, training and apprenticeship opportunities to further meet the needs of learners and employers. In addition, the College and IEMA partnership will mean that learners who are completing one (or more) of the College’s sustainability courses, and who hold an NUS Totum card, can benefit from discounted IEMA student membership. This student membership represents the first step that Eastleigh alumni will take in progressing through the IEMA membership levels, and as a student member will provide a rich source of resource and wider learning about sustainable development.

It is also the ambition that through this partnership, the College and IEMA, along with the Association of Colleges (AoC), employer groups, awarding organisation(s) and digital learning publisher(s), will be able to upskill the post-16 workforce and also increase the availability of industry-recognised and funded learning opportunities for young people and adults. A particular priority for exploration is how the Further Education sector could potentially deliver provision to see ‘Sustainability Champions’ employed in every medium and large employer in the coming years.