Developing talent for a sustainable world
Built environment students have strong sustainability aspirations and education should reflect that, writes Aled Williams.
Sustainability goes beyond addressing day-to-day operations; it also involves influencing and educating industry professionals who design, construct, develop and manage the built environment.
At the University College of Estate Management (UCEM), sustainability is a key component of our vision and core purpose – to provide accessible, relevant and cost-effective education, enabling students to enhance careers, increase professionalism and contribute to a better built environment.
UCEM delivers its vocational programmes with an online delivery model where the learning design process puts the student at the centre. What is important to sustainability is flexibility and accessibility, and this ensures that students can access their learning material 24/7 on multiple devices.
A survey in conjunction with charity Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS) confirmed how much students support our sustainability aspirations. The institution-wide survey, completed by 406 students in November 2019, supported our evidence to become a National Union of Students Responsible Futures accredited institution.
Key findings included:
- 90% of students agreed or strongly agreed that sustainable development is something which universities and colleges should actively incorporate and promote;
- 80% of students said it was important that their future employer makes a difference in social and environmental issues; and
- 72% of students agreed or strongly agreed that sustainable development is something they would like to learn more about.
UCEM’s Sustainability Statement outlines our commitment to the principles of sustainable development: “Sustainability is right at the heart of what we do, both in the way that we teach through our online model with its minimal environmental impact, and of course through what we teach and how we send qualified students out into the world able to make their own positive impact through being ambassadors for sustainability.”
Aled Williams is director of research, innovation and partnerships at UCEM and a CIC Education Champion