Community Energy Plus News

Environment sector strengthening project wins ESF award

Wendy Violentano presents Phil Legrice and Ian Smith with their ESF award

The Strengthening the Environment Sector (SES) project, developed jointly by Cornwall College Business and the Environmental Skills Network (ESN), has been recognised for its sustainable development ethos.

The project, which receives ESF Convergence investment via the Skills Funding Agency has been awarded an ESF Equal Opportunities and Sustainable Development Mainstreaming `Leader’ Award. The awards recognise organisations that have made a special commitment to mainstream equal opportunities or sustainable development.

The awards were presented on Thursday (October 28th) by chair of the Convergence Programme Monitoring Committee, Jon Bright, and Head of ESF for the UK and Gibraltar, Wendy Violentano, with winning projects going forward to the national awards that will be announced on November 17th at Villa Park, Birmingham.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said, “The strength of the ESF and ERDF Convergence programmes lies in its long term impact on real people in real life. The winners today demonstrated that economic regeneration is good for business, good for the environment and good for people.”

Chris Hines, sustainability consultant and director of A Grain of Sand, gave an inspiring talk as keynote speaker at the event. He said, “We will forget the triple bottom line of economy, environment and equality at our cost – today’s winners are great examples of how these strands are successfully woven together here and now.”

The SES provides a support network and skills and training opportunities for environmental goods and services companies. It was set up to deliver guidance via conferences, seminars and bespoke training addressing key skills gaps in the environment industry.

The project offers five programmes in total delivered through a partnership of regional organisations led by Cornwall College Business and the Environmental Skills Network, including Rezolve, Global Action Plan, Business Link for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Somerset and the Cornwall Development Company.

The Environmental Skills Network (ESN) is an environmental network that seeks to support the needs of trades and businesses within its sector. Network members enjoy a range of benefits including access to free environmental advice and support and even access to free or subsidised training. The project is delivered by Community Energy Plus in conjunction with ReZolve on behalf of Environment Kernow.

Most recently SES has introduced the Carbon Management programme, which gives businesses the necessary skills to develop their own specific strategy to improve energy efficiency and comply with government requirements within the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.

Mark Williams, Head of Provider Accounts for the Skills Funding Agency said: “We are delighted that two Convergence projects have been successful in the regional awards. Equal opportunities and sustainable development have been a key focus during phase one of Convergence funding and we will continue to support and encourage these types of projects in phase two. We wish both YMWA and SES the very best of luck for the national awards.”

Justin Olosunde, Business Development Manager (Cornwall College Business), said, “We are delighted with winning this award; it is a demonstrative recognition of the ethos with which both Cornwall College and the Environmental Skills Network undertook for the SES project from the outset with support from partners – namely to help develop, support, promote and deliver low carbon skills to enable a transition for all to a low carbon resource efficient economy.”

(Adapted from press release issued by the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly)