Greening Vet.

The Greening VET – Skills for Sustainability (VET Connect) Forum on Friday 10th October in Brisbane was an opportunity to learn about sustainability initiatives in trade skills training. It was timely, considering the release of the SkillsTech Australia Strategic Plan 2008-2011, in particular, Outcome 6 – Environmental Sustainability. As the institute is working towards maintaining an ecological balance, my interest in attending the event was both personal and professional: improving my knowledge of Green Economics; and learning how to model the responsible use of resources, thus incorporating sustainability in training delivery.

 What’s Your Carbon Footprint?
Training people to work sustainably begins with the concept of a Carbon Footprint, which measures the environmental and ecological impact of human activities. Using a Personal Footprint Calculator is an engaging way to open discussion about this topic.

 Sustainability in Second Life.
I believe that Second Life is an eminently suitable virtual place to discuss sustainability issues, especially in the Building and Construction industry. Leigh Blackall investigates Sustainability Design with Second Life as a Modeling Tool. In his wiki, Blackall further explores Second Life as a vehicle to do this: Sustainability Considerations Relating To The Use Of Second Life For Education

 However, as Blackall notes, interacting virtually with avatars may actually increase energy consumption, despite cutting out physical travel.

 The United Nations Global Compact. 
The UN Global Compact is a framework for sustainability in a range of global and contexts. The UN Global Compact Ten Principles, grouped in four areas, drive excellence in business relations for the benefit of all.

 Triple Bottom Line (Plus One).
An example of Global Sustainability in action, RMIT’s Triple Bottom Line (Plus One) sets out ways to address Environmental, Economic, Social and Governance concerns.

 Brisbane’s greenfest.
Seeking practical ways to link Skills and Sustainability, as in this SkillsOne Video I visited greenfest at Southbank which coincided with the Greening VET Forum.

 At greenfest, I spoke with Daniel, proprietor of Daniel’s Kitchens about using recycled natural and reconstituted stone in benchtops. I found him to be a good source of ideas of how the stone industry can ethically contribute to the Green Economy by sensitively re-using materials and educating consumers about the benefits of doing so. Daniel uses ecospecifier to search for “eco-products”, that is, sustainable “Green Star” materials used in buildings and houses. Likewise, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) promotes GreenSmart  as its own brand of sustainable house building.

 Embedding Sustainability into Skills Training.
Anticipating the release of the CPC08 Construction Training Package and its new Sustainability Units, the resources linked in this update will help to embed sustainable practices in training delivery, in the same way as principles of Workplace Health and Safety; Quality; and Employability Skills.

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