Sustainable Futures for Enterprise Centres is a transformational project focused on the transition of enterprise centres from high cost, unsustainable centres to prepare them and their tenant base of SMEs for the low carbon and environmentally sustainable economy of the future.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE GOALS
The mounting challenge of constructing a climate-neutral future is one of the most significant that our society and economies have faced and enterprise centres have a key role to play.
Since 2018, over 75% of centres have experienced increased costs, primarily in utilities and compliance with ever stricter regulations on energy use, waste disposal etc. a mounting task. Some enterprise centres have begun transforming these challenges into opportunities, converting to renewable energy, deploying innovative low-carbon technologies, sustainably sourcing resources etc., but more needs to be done. SFEC can be a regional catalyst to kick-start innovation and businesses for transitioning beyond COVID-19 crisis framed within an Eco-Sustainability platform.
SFEC forges a replicable model of environmental and sustainability learning pathways to lead by example and encourage and facilitate our enterprise centre managers, tenant businesses and learners to adopt sustainable and responsible business practices. SFEC supports awareness-raising about environmental and climate-change challenges. Developing competences in sustainability, eco innovation, green sectorial skills, SFEC will also support the testing of innovative practices to prepare learners to become true factors of change (e.g. save resources, reduce energy use and waste, compensate carbon footprint emissions, opt for sustainable food and mobility choices, etc.).
ACCESS TO TRAINING AND QUALIFICATIONS FOR ALL
Enterprise centres generate a steady flow of new businesses and act as accessible VET educators in applied learning environments: many run programmes aimed at emerging and growth focused businesses and are prolific providers of formal, informal and nonformal vocational education with the potential to reach to thousands of participants. Enterprise centres not only offer enterprise-related training courses, provide one-on-one coaching, they are deeply invested in the sustainable welfare of their clients who lack investment in their professional development due to cost, time and accessibility constaints and a sense of overwhlem in relation to climate action – where to start. By providing a self-learning sustainability and climate-action online course we provide access to training for all, enabling access to free resources and skills in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
SFEC will focus on enhancing and developing partnerships between micro, small and medium sized companies and enterprise centre VET providers aimed at promoting joint competences, learning networks, support to pooling of resources, and providing initial and/or continuing training to their staff. The project will create building blocks, which when combined, treat sustainability knowledge and practice as a tangible skill. ‘We must see that “green” and growth go together’ (Barroso, 2011).
Sustainable Futures for Enterprise Centres Project will:
- Develop the competences of leaders in enterprise centre management in sustainable business practices for enterprise centre infrastructure & environmental future proofing, improving their own environmental impact
- Create a new model for facilitating the transfer to tenants of these competences and sustainability skills, supported by a curriculum, learning objectives and assessment guide and example content/lesson plans.
- Train VET trainers in the delivery of the curriculum so they can integrate it into their existing development programmes
- Support the wider integration of the model through thorough dissemination with VET, HEI and wider stakeholders
The transition to a low-carbon economy means a new economic model is necessary, focused on low-carbon growth, resource efficiency and sustainable development. That presents significant transformational challenges for enterprise where sustainable transitions are highly dependent upon technological solutions: industrialisation has catalysed a linear economy in which take-use-dispose culture is accentuated. A transition to a circular, sustainable economy is essential.
Through the development of the below resources SFEC will created change:
- Output 1: Enterprise Centre Best Practice Climate Action Compendium, identifying best practices that enterprise centres can replicate to reduce their carbon footprint, improve their services/supports and future proof their infrastructures.
- Output 2: Toolkit and Action plan which will guide enterprise centre leaders through strategic sustainability planning which will bring sustainable practices and ideas to fruition via concrete actions.
- Output 3: Sustainable Futures for Enterprise Centre Tenants OERS Empower enterprise centre leaders to become Sustainability Educators and Agents of Change capable of teaching and training SME and start up clients about the principles of sustainability and green business. Output 3 will also develop a self-learning sustainability and climate-action online course for Enterprise Centres tenants and wider SME’s to enable them to operate in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and align their sustainability goals with those of the enterprise centres where they are based.