The future's green, if our experience is anything to go by

Those of you who visit Burnley College, where I’m proud to be assistant principal, will know that we never stand still.

Whether it’s developing our curriculum to meet the needs of business or investing in the latest technology – we’re a forward-thinking, fast-paced organisation.

And that’s never been more true with one of the most exciting developments I’ve seen in my career here - our Low Carbon Hub. The amount of interest it has provoked both on campus and externally is amazing – and shows how important sustainability and protecting the planet is to everyone.

We gained funding for this amazing development through the government’s Strategic Development Fund, along with Blackburn College, Lancaster and Morecambe College and West Lancashire College under the umbrella of The Lancashire Colleges.

It’s already providing the perfect base to offer small and medium-sized businesses across the region the best training in how to reduce their carbon footprint and reach net zero.

We’ve packed it with the latest technologies to ensure it’s relevant to every sector – whether you’re a self-employed plumber or electrician to the operations manager of a manufacturing hub or even a retailer keen to identify where you’re wasting money as energy bills soar.

From monitoring equipment to track energy use to ground source heat pumps and electric boilers; to solar panels and wind turbines and battery storage systems, the deliveries to college have rolled in from across the UK and further afield.

But it’s not just businesses who have been flocking to find out more. Our students and Themis apprentices have been making a beeline here, too, asking in-depth questions and wanting to explore what the technology and net zero message means for them.

So great has been the interest and feedback from students and apprentices, we’ve committed to include modules on sustainability in every curriculum area and upskill every apprentice with a ‘green’ qualification ahead of any national initiatives.

All I can say, given the evidence I’ve seen from employers, students and Themis apprentices, is that they’ll be great guardians of our planet. But will governments in our lifetime and in future match their commitment?