Put sustainability in the National Curriculum, urge experts

As many as 95% of environmental professionals want to see sustainability issues given more prominence in the National Curriculum and other learning frameworks.

That is the headline finding of a new poll from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA), which had 400 respondents.

As well as installing sustainability in the curriculum, 88% of respondents wanted it included in the Government-prioritised STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

 IEMA’s Josh Fothergill said the results demonstrated resounding support for a centralised commitment to sustainability skills.

“Our Members have voiced a clear message to the next Government, saying that it has a responsibility to set clear expectations, guidance and frameworks for sustainability skills.

“Failure to do this within the next Parliament will mean the UK will be behind the line – perhaps permanently – so this is a very real priority.”

Perfect storm

The poll results reinforce IEMA’s 2014 report – “Preparing for the Perfect Storm” – which found that just 13% of organisations are fully confident that they have the right skills in to compete in a sustainable economy.

The current gap between the supply and demand for sustainability skills threatens the UK’s future ability to compete on a global scale, says IEMA, while having these skills could be worth more than £1m a year to an individual company.

Part of the problem may be a lack of clarity. A report released Thursday by the Grantham Institute claimed that Government cannot yet evaluate the true employment impact of green policies due to a lack of data and poor methods.

This is the third in a series of polls from IEMA in the run up to the General Election. The first revealed the main party leaders are not trusted by sustainability professionals on climate change policy, while the second found that 88% said their own industry was falling short on circular economy efforts.

Brad Allen

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