South West College (SWC) is honoured to be awarded Beacon Award Finalist for the Nous Group Award for Education for Sustainable Development at the annual Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards, 2021/2022.

AoC Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practices among UK further education (FE) colleges. It is managed by AoC and run through AoC Charitable Trust - a registered charity.

The Awards Programme aims to demonstrate and promote the far-reaching impact of colleges on their students and the communities they serve. The commended and winning case studies will be used to increase understanding of colleges’ contribution to educational skills policy and economic and social development.

The College has undertaken a remarkable journey towards becoming one of the UK’s most established sustainable academic organisations, leading green skills development across the region. This has been achieved through application of a “One Planet Living” (OPL) framework, a holistic approach to sustainability focused on how we live our lives – going beyond cutting carbon and conservation, to enhancing wellbeing and building better communities and businesses.

The initiative incorporates multiple strands of exemplary practices in sustainability, including investment in innovative green curriculum and skills, industry-driven research & innovation (R&I) to support the region's fast-growing renewable energy sector and achieving the highest international standards in environmental constructions for our estates.

Our curriculum has brought benefit to more than 5000 students, enabling them to understand the importance of environmental sustainability and develop the skills necessary to realise and drive forward the ‘green economy’.

The Colleges most recent £30million campus construction is a flagship project of our commitment to green skills development. It is the first new building of its size in the world to achieve ‘Passive House Premium’ certification from the PassivHaus Institute in Germany and the first Educational building in the UK to have achieved ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ standard, the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for infrastructure and buildings.

Dr Barry McCarron, Head of Business Development at South West College, reflected upon the sustainability work undertaken by the college in recent years and added:

“Our college has been developing our expertise in sustainability for over 10 years through a significant portfolio of projects, particularly in Transport, Bioenergy and Sustainable Construction. Each of which have contributed to the growth or our expertise in this space. To be a Beacon Award Finalist for the Nous Group Award for Education for Sustainable Development really is a testament to the staff and students that have contributed over the years”.

The winners for this year’s AoC National Beacon Awards will be announced at the annual awards ceremony in London on 3rd May 2022.

Further information about the campus and the courses on offer is now available from the South West College website.

Sustainability at SWC