Colleges have responded well to the Scottish Government's "greener Scotland" objective, according to HMIE.
Whether through energy efficiency measures, recycling, waste-minimisation or car-sharing, almost all colleges have embedded sustainability in their strategic plans, and the majority have clear policies and strategies to address sustainability in most aspects of their operation, the inspectorate finds in a report published today, Sustainability and Scotland's Colleges.
Inspectors praise good leadership for sustainability and efforts to raise staff awareness, but said the majority of colleges had not developed induction training in sustainability for new staff sufficiently.
Only a few colleges had embedded sustainability within the design of their programmes or their learning and teaching strategies.
"In all colleges there are good examples of learners contributing to sustainable development," says the report. "These include student associations championing Fairtrade products, volunteering work in communities, recycling materials and products including mobile phones, carbon off-setting, and community garden schemes."
Examples highlighted include:
- John Wheatley College's Easterhouse campus has a 15m-high wind turbine - a clear visual statement to the local community of the college's commitment to saving energy and sustainable technologies;
- Langside College aims to play a leading role in advancing sustainability in the south-east of Glasgow and in sharing and disseminating its experience locally and nationally;
- Ayr College has appointed a manager to champion initiatives in sustainability;
- Ayr College and Aberdeen College use well-designed websites to provide staff with easily accessible resources for sustainability;
- Aberdeen College is piloting paper-free delivery in HND Textiles. Routinely switching off computers and sewing machines at the end of lessons is part of the plan;
- Elmwood College's gold course is the first in the UK to have received ISO 14001 for its environmental programme.