Forth Valley College and Fuel Change announced as SDS award finalists

A partnership initiative between Forth Valley College and Fuel Change has been announced as a finalist in the upcoming Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Awards.

FVC and Fuel Change are down to the final three in the category of Innovation in Learning Provision – up against Esteem Training Limited and the Care Team at Dundee and Angus College – with the winners to be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, between 7-11 March 2022.

The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards recognise the resilience and hard work of Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprentices and will also shine a spotlight on those employers, providers and individuals who champion apprenticeships. The Innovation and Learning Provision category celebrates a learning provider who has developed new or innovative ways to support learning and skills development for apprentices.

As one of Scotland’s largest providers of Modern Apprenticeships (MAs), FVC were delighted to team up with Fuel Change – an exciting new social enterprise movement which partners up with educators and employers to help solve their carbon challenges and aim to tap into the potential of youth to help fight the climate crisis – in the summer of 2020.

The partnership championed a project called the Fuel Change Challenge to develop innovative low carbon solutions to real issues currently facing industry. Teams of Modern Apprentices from across the whole of Scotland, their employers and partner colleges, were successfully invited to submit solutions to various pressing industry challenges. Their ideas were then further developed (with the help of expert mentors) into real time solutions that will help the country reach its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. 

Groups of apprentices, aged 16-24, worked together to come up with ideas to tackle tasks set by partner companies. The first challenge, which launched in Autumn 2020, involved the following employers: Alexander Dennis Limited; BAM Nuttall; Scottish Power Energy Networks; National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS); and Spirit Aerosystems. Challenges ranged across six industry sectors: ground transportation, aviation, oil and gas, manufacturing, energy, and construction.  

The first challenge saw twenty teams unveiled as a shortlist from a 38 strong field. 

There was a national online showcase event that was attended by more than 200 employers, training providers and participants. 

There were also significant benefits for the apprentices taking part including: 

• Opportunity to make a difference 
• Demonstrate their skills and talent  
• Develop awareness of climate change 
• Learn to collaborate and share ideas 
• Network and build connections  

As a result Fuel Change has gone from strength to strength and has gained support and backing from industry and government alike, has been invited to promote their goals through curriculum project in schools and were invited to present at the recent COP26 event in Glasgow.

The partnership has also brought a focus on carbon reduction across all faculties of the College. It has driven a positivity to achieve carbon reduction in every area of the college and an excitement that Forth Valley might be at the centre of a project that has UK and even global potential to deliver carbon reduction solutions. 

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “We are delighted to be announced as finalists for this award along with Fuel Change. The annual SDS Awards showcases examples of best practise across the Scottish further education sector and for us to be in contention for a top award is great recognition of the work the College and Fuel Change have been doing and are continuing to do, as we all try to reach our Net Zero targets. This partnership has also provided many great benefits and opportunities for our apprentices that they might never have had, and we are all delighted at how successful the partnership has been.”

David Reid, Chief Executive of Fuel Change, said: “It’s incredible to be recognised alongside Forth Valley College in the Category of Innovation in Learning Provision. In its short life, Fuel Change has given over 500 of our Next Generation the platform to generate innovative solutions to real-life carbon challenges faced by industry. Three of the Challenge participants have been shortlisted in the SDS Supporting Net Zero Award Category. We’re extremely proud of the work they’ve achieved so far, and we can’t wait to keep supporting them to Fuel Change within their organisations and beyond.”

To read the full list of finalists, please click here.