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Lancashire
Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Education and Business minds come together at Burnley College for revolutionary low carbon conference

Dynamic education and business minds from across Lancashire shared their successes and ideas at
the Skills for a Low Carbon Economy conference, hosted at Burnley College University Courses
(BCUC).
The forum was organised by The Lancashire Colleges invited businesses who have been supported
by the Government’s Skills Development Fund (SDF) to explain how they have used these pioneering
sessions to train their workforce and create their own pathway to Net Zero.
Paul Sharples, Business Development Manager at Burnley College said that the highly informative
event demonstrates the desire that industries have to go green:
“As a College we're committed to helping preserve the world's resources for generations to
come. We are proud to work with some forward-thinking employers and partners to make
this happen. It was a great conference which explored ground-breaking ideas and showed
the passion there is to reach our objectives regarding sustainability.”
Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann, CEO of Worldskills, gave a virtual keynote address about the importance
of green skills and the need to keep working through the challenges to educate and equip young
people with these vital skills. He said:
“Young people want to work for companies with green principles and we must keep
building pathways into key sectors. By working together we can ensure the UK can access
and develop the skills to reach net zero.”

Among invited speakers to the conference was David Stanley, from ELE Advanced Technologies. He
explained that 25 of their key staff from senior management, procurement, logistics and technical
leads have all completed the Introduction to Net Zero training provided by Burnley College as part of
the partnership led by The Lancashire Colleges under the ground-breaking SDF Pilot.
Among the green initiatives the company has introduced, electric vehicles are now used to travel
between sites and a sustainable blueprint is being drawn up for their imminent premises move. He
said:
“The SDF training has accelerated our understanding and capability to change alongside
our ambition to drive the company to Net Zero. Engaging with the SDF support has
provided ELE with a huge dividend.
“Our plans will sustain us for today and be efficient for tomorrow. We are a little business
in East Lancashire and we want to help change the world.”
These sentiments were echoed by John Marsden, SHEQ Advisor at Veka, who added they are already
seeing a huge impact from the introduction of sustainable practices:
“We are proud to say that, in 2021, 98% of all our scrap on site is recycled, we saved 3,531
tonnes of CO2 emissions and 30% recycled content is in all of our packaging.
“We align our ethics and sustainability commitments to the inspiring framework of the
UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and through our everyday actions, our products
and the way in which we do business, we believe we can have a positive impact on helping
to achieve eight of these goals.”
Tim Maiden from Green Small Business reflected on the challenges in connecting organisations to
the prospect of sustainability-focused change. He said:
“It’s not just the skills gap that presents a hurdle. Time, money, expertise and tools are
also huge factors. There’s a lot of confusing noise about Net Zero and carbon footprints,
but there are specific courses to equip workforces in environmental sustainability. Forums
like this are important communication tools for businesses to engage with.”
The afternoon session included round-table discussions between the visiting Colleges and a panel of
industry experts who debated the impact of actioning a sustainability plan and how other businesses
can become engaged in this vital process.
Also in attendance at the conference were Walter Carefoot & Sons, Baxi and Riscon, who joined
educational establishments including Myerscough College, Lancaster and Morecambe College, the
East Lancs and the North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Runshaw College, Preston
College, Blackburn College and Nelson and Colne College.

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