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Askham Bryan College celebrates Circular Yorkshire Month

Date: 5th November 2020

We are working with partners and stakeholders from across Yorkshire to accelerate the region’s transformation towards a circular economy.

Through this, the college is looking to create a thriving and resilient economy that benefits business and the environment for all people now and in the future. As part of Yorkshire Circular Month, Dr Tim Whitaker, CEO and Principal of Askham Bryan College, shares the college's vision moving forward:

Askham Bryan College - our challenges to become a circular organisation

Our new mission states “Learning is in our Nature”. I write this article acknowledging that we, as a college, have much to learn if we would like to achieve our ambitions on sustainability and renewability. I have focused on three major challenges we face although
there are many more to come!

Our first and most important challenge is understanding what circularity means for us. Our college community needs to answer questions such as ‘how will our teaching and training contribute to the circular economy’ and ‘how will our business processes/operations support renewable and sustainable practices’? Our partnership with Circular Yorkshire Month and the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Circular Yorkshire Consortium is invaluable to us as it will bring the support, direction and the shared learning that we need to overcome this challenge.

Challenge number two is developing the right technical and professional training for our student curriculum. We must develop creative and practical students with an understanding of science technology and the natural environment, who will then be prepared to address global issues around sustainability and renewability.

Challenge number three is ensuring we get ‘buy-in’ and that our vision then translates into tangible, operational change at Askham Bryan College. We must also harness the learning from Covid-19 in terms of how we identify and reach our sustainability goals. Our systems and processes, and our teaching model are all adapting. There will be efficiencies and positive impacts environmentally to understand and inform future practice.

One of four themes in our new strategic plan is focused on circularity (extract below, click here for our 5-year ‘roadmap’ strategic plan); so whilst acknowledging we are very much at the beginning of the journey as an organisation, we are also setting out our clear commitment and

Strategic Theme: Sustainability and wider contribution to the circular economy is embedded into College life

Vision 2030: we will be financially vibrant, enabling us to invest in exemplar sector practices and innovations, informed by our
commitment to our natural capital.

Strategic objectives: Circular College: making circularity, efficiency and sustainability central to our culture and decision-making

Big planet: as educators and leaders, develop knowledge and understanding with our students and staff, for the future
protection of the planet and environment.

Sustainable staff: attracting, retaining and developing the talent in our organisation.
Sustainable finances: ensuring that the organisation is financially resilient and business continuity is assured.

I believe Askham Bryan College is in a prime position to respond, develop and grow to meet the current and future needs of our industries, and to address the profound challenges the world faces.  During Circular Yorkshire Month, we are committed to raising awareness and fulfilling our promises to help make our county a leader in circular economy. We welcome both suggestions from others who may also be at the beginning of their journey and ‘lessons learned’ from more experienced organisations.

All the best and stay safe,
Dr Tim Whitaker, CEO and Principal, Askham Bryan College

Learn more about CircularYorkshire at 

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277