Taking sustainability seriously

Harrogate College has been putting sustainability at the top of its agenda, making it a firm priority for years to come. 

In recent months, the college has made a sustainability pledge and hopes to soon become a Centre of Green Excellence.

To mark its commitment to climate issues, the college recently hosted the launch of the first ever Harrogate Climate Action Festival, which saw hundreds of people come together to hear from sustainability-focused exhibitors.  


Last month, Harrogate College’s environmental champion, Holly Hansen-Maughan, headed to Glasgow to represent the college at the COP26 conference.

Over two days, Holly heard from panellists on a range of pressing issues, including the adjustment to off-grid energy production and consumption, driving green change and transitioning to the green economy. There were also key discussions concerning education, highlighting the part colleges need to play in adapting courses and skills to match the green revolution. 

Holly, who works at the college as a Partnerships and Development Lead, said: “During the event, the government vowed to put climate change at the heart of education as we prepare for the green industrial revolution. Therefore, colleges have a responsibility in preparing young people entering the workforce for the first time. 

“In order to adapt to this, we must teach sustainability and environmental awareness within our curriculum. At Harrogate College, we are dedicated to empowering young people by enhancing students’ understanding of environmental issues, which will be done through our Carbon Literacy Training. We also encourage learners to participate with environmental campaigns and activities through our enrichment programme.”

Local businesses lead the way

“Discussions at COP26 highlighted the importance of working collaboratively with local businesses to ensure young people are trained with the skills they need to join the workforce. The college works closely with a range of industries to deliver an employer-led curriculum which prepares learners for future jobs in the green economy.

“Our recently launched Employers’ Network gives employers the opportunity to influence the content of our courses, so that both students and employers are provided with what they need to succeed. This involves participating in quarterly discussion groups, allowing us to shape the skills and training of the future workforce. The Employers’ Network is now open for new members to join who receive multiple benefits in return. We also have upcoming networking and feedback events in February and June – you can take a look at the full range of events here.

“We aim to live our core values, including being a progressive institution, which we do by supporting students to develop the skills and knowledge to flourish in the changing world we live in.”

Read Harrogate College’s Sustainability Pledge here.

Raising climate awareness through green jumpers

Students and staff across Harrogate College came together to raise awareness of climate change by wearing green jumpers.

In its first year, Green Jumper Day is the brainchild of Harrogate Man, Alec Walton and his daughter, in a bid to encourage the community to help the environment.

The father-daughter duo inspired the college’s staff and students to wear green jumpers, turn down the heating to conserve energy and raise money for the cause.

Megan Hawkswell, Student Enrichment Coordinator at Harrogate College, was responsible for organising the event at college.

“The aim of this day was to increase awareness of climate change across the college and encourage individuals to take action. We strive to live our core values, one of which is being progressive. Therefore, it is essential that we develop skills and awareness in our students that will prepare them for the changing world we live in and future jobs in the green economy. 

“Enhancing students’ understanding of environmental issues is a great first step towards building these valuable green skills. Students will have the opportunity to develop these skills further in the new year with our Carbon Literacy Training.

“Learners are encouraged to get involved with environmental campaigns and activities through our enrichment programme. We’ll also be hosting a range of events and activities for students, staff and the wider community for Green Month in March.”

Holly Hansen-Maughan, Partnerships and Development Lead, is a keen advocate for environmental sustainability and recently attended COP26.

“As a college, we are dedicated to tackling environmental issues; we have made a sustainability pledge and aim to be a centre of green excellence. The success of Harrogate’s Climate Action Festival has demonstrated the level of interest and work going on across the region, which we’re committed to being involved in.”

Listen here to Megan talking about the importance of getting involved with the day.