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Enhancing learning at work: Our impact at SOS-UK

Franceska Fisher
May 6, 2024

In a world where sustainability is no longer an option but a necessity, organisations are constantly seeking ways to integrate sustainability holistically into their operations. But what if we integrate lifelong learning into workplace education to upskill employee's to confidently address sustainability in their roles? Here at SOS-UK, an education charity, we champion sustainability within education and recognise the importance of lifelong learning to achieve a just and sustainable future for all. This is why we are supporting and celebrating Learning At Work Week 2024.

Learning at Work Week, initiated by the Campaign for Learning, aims to instil a culture of continuous learning within workplaces. It encourages employers to invest in employee development, promotes various learning opportunities, and empowers individuals to take charge of their learning journey. The event underscores the value of ongoing learning for organisational success and personal growth.  

Lorman research states (2022) that ‘74% of workers are willing to learn new skills or re-train in order to remain employable’ showing high level of willingness among staff to engage in continuous learning and skill development to enhance their employability.  

One way we support lifelong learning in workplaces is through Green Impact, our UNESCO award-winning programme that supports teams to improve their sustainability and social responsibility via workplace learning and action.  As we celebrate Learning at Work Week 2024, it's imperative to recognise initiatives like Green Impact that not only promote sustainability but also foster continuous learning and development within workplaces.

So, how exactly does SOS-UK support learning at work?

Fostering environmental awareness: Green Impact offers workplaces a structured approach to involve employees in sustainable practices. Through workshops, resources, and guidance, employees deepen their understanding of environmental and social issues and their role in addressing them. This fosters an environment of environmental consciousness, promoting ongoing learning about sustainability

Collaborative learning: Green Impact fosters collaboration between staff and students, enhancing teamwork and peer-to-peer learning. Engaging in sustainability projects encourages colleagues across departments and seniority levels to work together, fostering a collaborative approach. This approach strengthens team dynamics and facilitates knowledge sharing for all involved.

Practical application of skills: Green Impact provides employees with opportunities and actions to apply their skills and knowledge in real-world scenarios. Whether it's conducting energy audits, implementing waste reduction initiatives, strengthening inclusion practices, or organising awareness campaigns, employees are actively involved in hands-on projects that directly contribute to their personal and professional growth. This approach boosts confidence and encourages employees to drive their own learning journey.

Recognition, reward & long-term impact: Acknowledgment for achievements is a powerful motivator for learning. With Green Impact we celebrate the efforts of participating workplaces through certification and awards. Employees and students can feel validated for their contributions, inspiring them to further engage in learning and sustainability initiatives. By embedding sustainability into workplace culture, organisations create lasting change. Employees not only gain relevant skills for their current roles but also prepare for future challenges. Additionally, these initiatives contribute to a more sustainable future for generations to come.

As we navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world, learning at work goes beyond acquiring new skills— it’s about curiosity, collaboration, and responsibility. SOS-UK and Green Impact show how integrating sustainability into learning benefits people, the planet, and organisations, empowering us to thrive amidst change.

What else are we doing to support learning at work?

The Learning Academy offered by SOS-UK serves as a comprehensive hub for continuous learning. By providing a diverse range of affordable training programmes, workshops, and resources, the Learning Academy empowers employees to upskill and stay relevant in an ever-evolving professional landscape. Whether it's honing technical expertise or developing leadership capabilities, the Learning Academy equips individuals with the tools they need to excel in their roles and beyond. One of our most popular training courses is Carbon Literacy training which educates individuals and organisations about carbon emissions, climate change, and sustainability. It empowers participants to reduce their carbon footprint through practical actions and informed decision-making.

Our Responsible Futures programme is a supported accreditation programme designed to embed sustainability across all aspects of student learning in tertiary education institutions. It involves partnerships between students' unions and institutions to integrate sustainability, including climate justice, into formal and informal learning. By embedding sustainability into all aspects of student learning, institutions are preparing graduates to address real-world challenges, including the climate crisis, as they enter the workforce. This collaboration between students' unions and institutions not only enhances students' employability but also ensures that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to contribute positively to their workplaces and society.

Learning at Work Week 2024 serves as a reminder of the transformative power of learning within the workplace. As we celebrate our work at SOS-UK, we recognise that learning is not just a means to an end but a journey of growth, empowerment, and discovery. By investing in learning and development, we pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future, empowering individuals to realise their potential and create positive impacts on the world.

If you would like to bring any of our Learning At Work initiatives to your organisation, please contact us!