West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

21 January 2022

Funded training embeds sustainability skills in 61 creative businesses in West Yorkshire

Through Let’s Talk Real Skills, SAIL (Sustainable Arts in Leeds) has trained over 250 individuals in the West Yorkshire creative sector to be carbon literate. Embedding sustainability skills across 61 organisations including Leeds Arts University, Opera North (pictured below) and Northern Ballet.

Green ideas made possible through funded project

The idea to deliver funded carbon literacy training was initiated through a Creative Collaborative Skills Partnership (CSP). Led by Leeds City College, the CSP improves skills in West Yorkshire’s creative sector by developing pilot training courses for businesses to take advantage of. The courses are delivered through Let’s Talk Real Skills, funded by the European Social Fund and managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges.

Richard Lee, Head of Media, Music and Performance Production, Leeds City College – “During CSP meetings of employers, educational institutions and industry experts, it became apparent that the creative sector needed support in the form of carbon literacy training to respond to the global climate emergency. Additionally, large parts of the sector rely on Arts Council funding, which now requires a sustainability element of any bid.

“The training funded through the CSP will ensure local organisations have a competitive advantage in future bid rounds. Leeds City College championed the idea and worked with SAIL who could use their experience and membership to have a wide and impactful reach.”

Creative businesses are acting on and improving awareness of climate change

SAIL is a not-for-profit network of organisations and individuals in the creative and cultural sector, who have come together to act on the Climate Emergency.

Helen Brook, Project Coordinator, SAIL - For the first time, we’ve been able to offer training sessions dedicated to full teams, which has led to a collective increase in climate awareness across teams and opened internal conversations about how they can make their organisations more sustainable. Having a fully funded offer has enabled organisations to train more of their staff to be carbon literate than ever before.”

Carbon literacy is a term used to describe an awareness of climate change, and the climate impacts of humankind’s everyday actions. Carbon literacy is the knowledge and capacity required to create a positive shift in how we live, work and behave in response to climate change.

Glowing feedback from participants

Tobias Perkins, Head of Planning, Northern Ballet - “Our organisation is made up of people with diverse skill sets and, to deliver change in our approach to environmental responsibility, one of the best things we can do is to share knowledge as widely as possible across the organisation. Carbon literacy training allows us to do that.

“The training challenges individuals to think differently and make specific commitments they will put in place to lower their carbon footprint. It is an important step in arming our staff with the knowledge needed to make informed choices and we expect to see the benefit of prioritising this training into the future”

The benefits of the project are still ongoing, as the positive impact of the training on participants and organisations, and their considerations of the environmental impact of their work becomes apparent.

Amy Garrod, Producer, Little Motel Motion Studio - “The carbon literacy training was a great confidence booster in how to reduce CO2 emissions both as an individual and as a business, and also back up our actions with statistics and wider plans”

Click to see SAIL’s members talking about how the carbon literacy training has impacted them: Carbon Literacy Training: Sustainable Arts in Leeds


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