The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) is a global education program that both educates and challenges students across the UK to develop unique sustainable projects. The theme for this year challenge was “Building Sustainable Communities”, and calls on teams to demonstrate innovative thinking and entrepreneurial approaches in order to obtain the monetary grant.

Ford has given the grant to three winning teams. These teams represent students from The University of Nottingham, Kent and Nottingham Trent. Each team will receive £5,000 each in April 2017 at the Enactus UK National Expo in London.

Ford of Britain’s managing director Andy Barratt said: “Educating the next generation of social innovators and leaders is essential to ensure success in our communities. We are delighted to support these creative, enthusiastic and committed young people who really want to make a difference.” 

Participants in the program were asked to solve some of the most challenging issues facing society, with the winning entries this year focusing on empowering the elderly, recycling, waste prevention, and vertical farming.

Skills and innovation

The college program was created in 2001 as part of the Ford Fund, the motor company’s non-profit corporate foundation. Ford C3 has awarded more than $2m to university student teams across nine different countries.

In the UK, the Ford Fund partnered with Enactus UK in 2001 to help pioneer the Ford C3. Enactus UK, was founded in 2001 and operates in 56 universities with more than 3,000 active students.

The program builds on Ford’s desire to promote innovation as a viable solution to pressing sustainability challenges. The company has introduced an array on innovative concepts over the last 12 months, from using tequila produce to explore bio-materials and launching an on-the-go H20 water purifier.

Ford’s education programs embody a sentiment of reaching outside of in-house employees and post-graduates to expand the capacity of corporate responsibility and sustainability job markets. The Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), met in September to discuss whether CSR was becoming “another elite” job role that failed to diversify its work force and focus solely on post-graduates.

edie recently pooled opinions from a range of business and educational experts to find out whether the next generation of green businesses leaders are primed with the right skills to push the sustainability agenda even further.

edie’s sustainability skills month and workshop

The month of November sees edie shift the editorial spotlight from green building to sustainability skills, ahead of the edie Skills Workshop on 30 November in London (find out more and register to attend here).

From presentation skills and building the business case to the power of influence and persuasion, this month of exclusive videos, features and podcasts will pro-actively address the sustainability skills gaps and lay the foundations for businesses to take the next steps in their sustainability journey.

Read all of our sustainability skills content here.

Alex Baldwin

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