Pioneering ‘green’ course in Calderdale enrols first students

A pioneering pilot course, with an emphasis on the practical, will train people to work in the green economy.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:00 pm
Todmorden Learning Centre

Todmorden Learning Centre’s Climate Challenge College is offering the free six-month Green Futures full-time course, with the first “pilot” intake of students having started this month and applications now open for the next six-month block which will start in January.

TLC programme leader Chelsie Naylor, speaking to Calderdale Council's Cabinet Climate Change Working Party, said the Green Futures course was part funded by the National Lottery grant in relation to a green skills shortage and aimed to prepare people for work in the green economy.

The learning centre received a £270,000 National Lottery grant last November and the building, formerly Todmorden Community College on Burnley Road, was transferred into community ownership by Calderdale Council this spring.

Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said this would be a good stage at which to get the course accredited and built into the national education framework.

“I think it’s important for people in terms of their employability,” he said.

He also suggested widening accessibility to the course, which runs Monday to Friday, and regarding a planned “TodCOP” event aimed at young people which will run from 10am to 2pm at the centre on November 5 advised organisers not to encourage children just to turn up to it on a school day.

Chelsie said accreditation work was in hand and the course is open to anyone over age 16 with an emphasis is on the practical.

The council’s Environmental Management Officer, Jez Tweed, suggested working with local schools like Todmorden High over the TodCOP event as it might be possible to incorporate the event into its lessons.

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties – COP26 – in Glasgow from November 1 to 12.

Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) hoped eventually work placements and apprenticeships could result from the centre’s work.

The panel heard the green skills shortage applied to agriculture, forestry and land management, utilities including energy and water, manufacturing and construction, transport and logistics, services and maintenance and education.

Modules include food and land, sustainable building, renewable energy and an introduction to climate crisis.

Chelsie said the food and land module was the biggest component and encompasses agro-ecology, natural flood management (already being deployed in parts of Calderdale to help counter flooding) and controlled environment agriculture.

The course is described as “very hands on” and although there are theory aspects it mainly comprises practical work including learning to grow food, carpentry, and building, repair and reuse techniques, says the prospectus.

The sustainable building module gives an introduction to natural building and retrofitting existing homes to make them more energy-efficient.