Sustainability, Carbon Literacy, and how to plan for Net Zero – Green Skills for Apprentices to Leaders

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet its Net Zero target by 2050. 

The strategy has been cascaded down through the public sectors, including the NHS and County Councils, to address the issue of climate change and the reduction of carbon outputs internally and through their supply chain.

Public sector procurement policies now seek evidence of Carbon Reduction Plans (CRP) and Net Zero Targets of those organisations wishing to secure contracts through them.

In a recent survey conducted by Colchester Institute, 68% of companies stated that they had a sustainability policy, of which 35% stated they needed training in developing and implementing clear strategies by which they can set targets and measure outcomes.

‘Sustainability, Carbon Literacy, and how to plan for Net Zero’ has been designed to assist organisations wishing to start their own green journey alongside those needing to build on work already in progress.  

Furthermore, the College has secured funding to launch a pilot programme, allowing delegates to join at a vastly subsidised cost of £75 and collaborate with the specialist trainer on the content and approach used.


Who will benefit from doing the course?

Climate change will not be solved by a handful of people in a handful of different areas – it will take effort and skill from everyone in society, no matter where they sit.

By the year 2050, the entire world will effectively decarbonise. 

Green Skills will not just be in demand – they will be essential.

People from all walks of life – from café workers and owners, retail staff, taxi drivers, and bar workers to business people, middle and senior management, educators, doctors and politicians. Anyone you care to think of will feel the impact of Net Zero.

You are invited to get ahead and gain skills for the future that is coming.

Programme outcomes

By completing this green skills programme, delegates will gain vital knowledge, skills and tools to ‘make a difference’ to their environment, both in terms of their personal and work life, and ….. 

  • be motivated to inspire others to make the changes needed;
  • have a clear action plan to implement sustainable and greener solutions/initiatives – with clear targets; techniques to measure progress, and tangible outcomes – saving money and saving the planet, and
  • compete more effectively for new business, where Sustainability and Net Zero Action Plans are a pre-requisite of the supply chain.

Working with the Carbon Literacy Project (CLP), delegates receive a Carbon Literacy Certificate issued by the CLP upon completing the first two sessions, which is unique to the individual. 

The Sustainability, Carbon Literacy and Net Zero Certificate is awarded to delegates by Colchester Institute upon completion of the full programme.

Programme delivery

Each subject is delivered in a format which is accessible by all – regardless of knowledge, role, age, and background – and comprises of three key components:

  • Tutor-led interactive workshops – a combination of classroom and live online sessions every two or three weeks – sharing ideas with other delegates and learning in a safe and enjoyable environment. Each live online workshop is recorded and available to those unable to attend the scheduled session.
  • A homework assignment that builds knowledge and understanding – developing a sustainability action plan and strategy as the central focus whilst building on the key components as they work through each topic.
  • Access to a Sustainability e-learning platform – delegates can access online course material and complete it at their own pace – providing a combination of articles, videos, presentations, and podcasts
What will each subject area cover?

Introduction to Sustainability, Carbon and Net Zero

A general introduction into key terms used such as Sustainability, Carbon and Net Zero – exploring climate, weather, global warming, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the climate emergency, to name but a few. We will cover some of the other main topics featured throughout the course, gaining an understanding of what is expected upon completion of the full programme – including action planning and climate strategy.

Delegates are introduced to one another as collaborative working enhances learning and provides an opportunity to synchronise people in the wider Colchester and Essex area, to make a greater collective change.

Carbon Literacy

The carbon literacy element of the course is verified externally through the Carbon Literacy Project in Manchester. The outcomes as articulated by the Project state: 

“Carbon Literacy is an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.”


This element develops an understanding of the concept of biodiversity and the value of nature, building skills and behaviours to have a positive impact on conservation and a positive relationship with the natural environment.


Now we have established the overarching themes that everyone should be familiar with, this element is the first of five areas that form the Pathway to Net Zero

We will build knowledge and awareness of the current and future outlook on energy, looking at case studies locally and globally. The skills developed in this module will allow delegates to lower their footprint from energy and therefore save both resources and money.

Circular Economy and Waste

The current and future outlook on waste, looking at the concept of a Circular Economy, where items are not just made, used and then disposed of. Delegates will build skills to help them on a journey to becoming Zero Waste as much as is possible.


The current and future outlook in transportation, making a distinction between Scope 1 (travelling whilst at work) and Scope 3 (travelling outside of work) and how this impacts our daily commute and beyond. This module will build skills to help evaluate and lower footprints from travel.


Ethical and sustainable procurement is sometimes seen as an afterthought or tick-box exercise with little thought given. This module will cover some of the main tenants of sustainable procurement, such as economic, social, and environmental issues.

This section will also give people the knowledge and skills to deal with supply chains of goods and services in a sustainable way from external organisations and providers.


Understanding what individuals and organisations can do about the emissions which they cannot reduce on the way to net zero and beyond – in terms of what this area is, and how it is applicable to them, whilst ensuring they avoid any sense of greenwashing that is prevalent in this area.


As we move beyond the principal areas that can lead to net zero, we investigate some specific areas that businesses can do, which relate to the delegates’ areas of expertise. This section allows them to take the knowledge gained from the previous subject areas and begin to tighten up and formalise their Action Plan and Strategy document – taking the course from the classroom into their own area of responsibility in the workplace.


Now we have built up the knowledge and skills needed, we will look at embedding all these elements into our organisations – in terms of behaviour change, communications, and legacy building, so that the work done to this point is just the starting point that will bring about long-lasting change.

Legislation, Regulation and Policy

The UK Government has pledged to transition the country to net zero by 2050.  Going from the global to the local landscape we explore the legislation, regulations and policy in place now and what they mean for you and your organisation.

The skills developed in this module will help delegates prepare for and be ahead of the curve of what is coming in all the areas we have covered in the course so far.

Action plan, strategy and course sign-off

We conclude our 12-step programme by finalising our Action Plans and Strategies – and come together to share what we have learned as we look to the future, fully prepared and ready to tackle the challenge of making a Net Zero future a reality.

Programme Timetable
Session no.Date & delivery modelSubject areaDelivery time
1Friday 31/03/2023 – Classroom *Introduction to Sustainability, Carbon and Net Zero10.00 – 15.00
2Friday 14/04/2023 – Live onlineCarbon Literacy12.00 – 16.00
Carbon Literacy Certificate awarded by the Carbon Literacy Project
3Friday 28/04/2023 – Live onlineBiodiversity12.00 – 16.00
4Friday 12/05/2023 – Live onlineEnergy12.00 – 16.00
5Thursday 25/05/2023 – Live onlineCircular Economy and Waste12.00 – 16.00
6Friday 09/06/2023 – Live onlineTransport12.00 – 16.00
7Friday 23/06/2023 – Live onlineProcurement12.00 – 16.00
8Friday 07/07/2023 – Classroom *Offsetting10.00 – 15.00
9Friday 21/07/2023 – Live onlineBusiness12.00 – 16.00
10Friday 11/08/2023 – Live onlineEmbedding12.00 – 16.00
11Friday 25/08/2023 – Live onlineLegislation, Regulation and Policy12.00 – 16.00
12Friday 08/09/2023 – Classroom *Action plan, strategy & course sign-off10.00 – 15.00
Assessment of individual action plans with feedback & recommendations by the specialist trainer on 27/10/23 – online
Full Certificate awarded by Colchester Institute

* Classroom sessions are based at our Colchester campus.

Sustainability, Carbon Literacy and Net Zero Certificate
Distance Learning – Delivered Online
Duration12 Sessions over 6 Months
Campus / Adult Skills CentreColchester Campus
Start Date31/03/2023
Attendance3 workshops at Colchester campus
9 online workshops – distance learning


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