Sustainability at the Etc.

The Education Training Collective (Etc.) is a group of vibrant colleges and training providers offering high quality educational opportunities in the North East of England.

Incorporating Bede Sixth Form College, Innersummit, NETA Training Group, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, the Group has an estate of over 41,260 m2, and serves approximately c12,000 learners during each academic year.

The Etc. acknowledges it has a continued responsibility to improve sustainability and is committed to recognising and seeking to reduce the impact it has on the environment, and to enable staff and students to do the same.

What does the research say?

Research carried out by Zurich in 2020 found:

  • 32% of 7-17 year olds want climate change and sustainability topics to be covered in their curriculum
  • 24% of 7-17s think young voices are not currently being listened to in the climate change debate, with a high number showing support for quite drastic initiatives to reduce carbon emissions
  • 21% also say they would support a fast fashion tax to raise funds to recycle, old and unwanted clothes. 

Additionally, in October 2021, the Children’s People and Nature Survey found:

  • 78% of 8-15 year olds agreed that looking after the environment was important to them
  • 81% said they wanted to do more to look after the environment
  • 46% of those surveyed do not think adults are doing enough to protect the environment – an increase of 7% on the year prior.

Our Green Objectives

e drafted our Sustainability strategy in 2022, which was approved by our Senior Management Team and Board of Governors to be implemented over a three year period to 2025. Through this strategy, we aim to:

  • Embed environmental sustainability into the heart of the Group via:
    • Resources (energy, waste, plastic, paper etc)
    • Operations
    • IT & communications
    • Student curriculum teaching, learning and experiences
    • Staff engagement
  • Drive our commitment to environmental sustainability across the Etc. and use this as an opportunity to further engage stakeholders
  • Consider our impact on the biodiversity of college sites and ensure protection thereof wherever practicable
  • Maintain Investors in the Environment accreditation, in which we achieved the highest rating of ‘Green’ in our 2023 audit

Strategy Success

Since 2022, we have:

  • Developed and delivered an in-house Carbon Literacy Awareness workshop delivered to more than 100 staff members across the whole Etc.
  • Taken steps to ensure Sustainability is embedded into the curriculum at all of our colleges, including understanding of sustainable building materials in construction and engineering, utilising eco-friendly products and waste reduction in our on-site salons, sourcing sustainable toys and resources in early learning and including theme of sustainability in art and media
  • Moved from plastic to wooden cutlery across all college and reduced single use plastics as far as possible
  • Redcar & Cleveland College has established its own Clean Energy Education Hub and is home to the only Retrofit Academy in the Tees Valley
  • Created a week long programme of activity to support the annual Great Big Green Week (for staff and students), with plans to add a sustainable fashion show and vegetarian catering offer for 2024
  • Ensured that the new Etc. procurement process heavily features sustainability as part of the criteria
  • Sourced a donation of 135 trees under the Trees for Tees initiative to encourage biodiversity across group sites
  • Used the principles of the Stockton Riverside College Thrift Exchange (on site charity shop) to develop a cross-group initiative called Re-Gifting Week which now takes place each year in January.

What’s next?

There is always more to do – more engagement, more activity, more impact.

We will continue to seek to achieve our Green Objectives, with the support of our Senior Management Team, our Governing Body, our staff and our students.

Time for Teesside:

Summer 2023 saw our all-new Time for Teesside get off to a flying start. Around 250 Etc. colleagues took part in 21 local projects. Check out what our staff from across the group got up to during their Time for Teesside experience and discovered how giving their time made a real difference to good causes!