Pilot centre themed conversation on Learning for Sustainability

Read about the variety of perspectives and approaches adopted by SRUC, Edinburgh College and the Engineering Council to embed Learning for Sustainability within qualifications

August 18, 2023 - SQA - Categories: LfS, Pilot

NextGen: HN

We held a pilot centre themed conversation in May which focused on Learning for Sustainability (LfS). Practitioners from seven pilot centres attended, representing eight Next Generation Higher National (NextGen: HN) piloted qualifications. 

Three guest speakers presented their experiences of introducing LfS into their qualifications.  

  • Drew McNeice, SQA Qualifications Manager for Engineering, discussed the importance of embedding sustainability in learning, teaching, and assessment of NextGen: HNC Engineering. Drew highlighted the importance of learners being familiar with the sustainability principles of the Engineering Council, in preparation for their professional lives. The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession. 
  • Margaret Boyack, Lecturer in HNC Accounting at Edinburgh College, provided examples of student presentations focusing on corporate responsibility which linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The presentations covered topics including appropriation of water by a global soft drinks company, and greenwashing of company accounts by a fashion company.  
  • Carol Langston, Director of SRUC’s Enterprise Academy, introduced delegates to the SEEDABLE Curriculum Project, a critical review and re-development of SRUC’s curriculum framework. Sustainability, enterprise, equality, diversity, and active and blended learning (SEEDABLE) will be at the centre all learning, teaching, and assessment at SRUC. 

The presentations were followed by workshop sessions, where delegates discussed three main points: implementation of sustainability initiatives, approaches to embedding LfS into learning and teaching, and practitioner confidence. The implementation of sustainability initiatives was discussed in relation to college estate, curriculum, culture and community. When discussing the approaches to embedding LfS into learning and teaching, delegates considered if there was a dedicated college strategy available or if it was the responsibility of teachers and lecturers.  

We expect that NextGen: HN learners will develop a general understanding of sustainability, alongside subject-specific sustainability skills, knowledge, and values. While experiences differed across colleges represented on the day, it was clear that for this to be achieved, more sustainability related CPD opportunities are required to develop practitioner confidence in embedding LfS in learning and teaching.  

This image shows three overlapping circles. All are of equal importance.   The first circle represents environmental impacts. It includes a leaf icon, reflecting the need for environmental stewardship.    The second circle represents social impacts. It includes an icon showing people, reflecting social equity.   The third circle represents economic impacts. It includes a graph with an upward financial trend, reflecting economic prosperity. A leaf-shaped arrow above the graph indicates the need to grow the economy without harming society or the environment.  The overlapping area at the centre of the three circles represents sustainability. This symbolises the interconnectedness and mutual support between the environmental, social, and economic aspects.  

Everyone involved reported a positive experience. Delegates found the day informative as they gained knowledge on concepts and new approaches they can take forward in their learning and teaching. 

We already have a range of support materials and resources available and are continuing to develop additional support. We will continue highlighting SQA LfS resources alongside complementary external training courses and resources in our monthly pilot centre update.  

In addition, we are liaising with Higher Education Institutes to develop parity of experience for learners, so that. NextGen: HN learners can articulate onto degree programmes with at least comparable sustainability skills, knowledge, and values. 

We welcome any further feedback on the day. You can provide feedback through your NPDM or by contacting Donna Clark, Subject Implementation Manager, directly at 

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