We know that young people are worried about climate change, poverty and other global issues. We know that they express an interest in learning more about sustainable development.*
We know that sustainable development is itself a learning process. The textbook or core knowledge of how to live and work sustainably has not been written since we are continually experimenting with how this might work.
Given, also, the current context of the economic crisis we face in the UK, changes in government policy, changes to higher and further education these worries and interests can (and are) being turned into opportunities for young people to begin their training and skill development for sustainability, in order to be able to play their full part in contributing to a sustainable world both in their communities and at work. In fact students expect that this knowledge and skills will enable them to get jobs and employers are expecting that young people will be able to contribute to the sustainable approach needed by their businesses and organisations.
In addition the growth of interest in apprenticeships, internships, volunteering, work experience and social enterprise presents a ‘one-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to encourage and create true learning for sustainability experiences for young people.
An Alliance is being formed to encourage, support, develop and learn from all these types of young peoples experiences and to develop a national accredited approach. Our goal is to develop ways that these experiences will be valued and recognised, to encourage more experiences and to build an understanding of what makes a quality learning experience. More information will follow.
* (NUS survey Feb 2011, SEEd/Schoolzone annual baseline survey).