The first schedule of Skills Bootcamps delivered by Birmingham City University (BCU) concluded recently and were a huge success, attracting learners from a wide range of disciplines including urban planning, architecture, built environment and the arts.
Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and are funded by the Department for Education. Those delivered by BCU are supported by West Midlands Combined Authority.
Two of the Skills Bootcampers were Fiona Allen, Sustainability Manager at Vaultex UK and Martha McSweeney, founder of McSweeney Architecture, who both successfully completed the Climate Literacy for Sustainable Futures course.
We spoke to Fiona and Martha to hear their impressions of the inaugural Skills Bootcamps and how they plan to apply their new knowledge.
Fiona Allen, Sustainability Manager
“I work for a company called Vaultex UK, which is one of the country’s leading providers of cash processing services. Our function is basically to keep cash moving in society. Businesses use us to count their cash, settle their accounts and return that cash to circulation.
My job title is Sustainability Manager. I’m pretty early in my career in the sustainability space, so as soon as I spotted this course I applied for it. Shortly afterwards I received an email to say that I’d been accepted, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
The content that has been provided on the Skills Bootcamp has been ideal for what I need to do, because part of my job is developing a Net Zero strategy. The course has been really insightful, informative and considered, so I’m pretty much applying all aspects of it to the strategy I’m working on. With what I’ve learned, I now know that my output is based on accurate science and methodology. I really want to avoid falling into the greenwashing trap!
The most useful part of the course for me has been learning about closed loop recycling and lifecycle assessments which will be very important for us. I can also see how learning these concepts would benefit people working across a variety of different sectors, so it’s definitely worthwhile.
I’d absolutely recommend the Skills Bootcamp, the content provided has been invaluable. I’ve already spoken to friends and colleagues to tell them how great the course is and not just those who work in the sustainability space. It would be really useful for everyone.
We should all be thinking about our carbon footprint – in business and industry of course, but on a personal level too. The Skills Bootcamp emphasises that climate action covers all aspects of life even if it isn’t directly relevant to your job role. It’s so important that people consider their own impact.
If we all play our part and each start acting on a small scale this will build up and have a big positive impact. We only have one planet and we need to look after it.“
Martha McSweeney, Business Owner
“I’m an architect and I have my own consultancy called McSweeney Architecture. I do a lot of briefing for large projects, particularly for the NHS, so I thought this course would be really useful to help inform that work.
I am very much looking forward to implementing what I’ve learned on this course. It will enable me to brief projects at earlier stages, which is important because sustainability in the built environment is a key topic.
Having the knowledge I’ve gained at Skills Bootcamp means that at the very beginning of an assignment I can design greater sustainability into the project because the implications will have been fully considered at the outset.
I would certainly recommend the Climate Literacy Skills Bootcamp. It offers a huge depth of information and a broad range of topics, so I think anybody who is in the business of specifying materials, working on building projects or even involved in formulating policy would get a lot out of doing the course.
Reducing our carbon footprint is one of the greatest challenges we face at this time. We can now start making some real progress towards developing strategies to reduce carbon consumption, whether that’s in our personal lives or in our places of work.“
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