Walsall Adult and Community College

Walsall Adult and Community College (WACC) have been taking tiny, practical steps in sustainability that are now making a BIG difference in the college and the wider community of practice in sustainability.

The initiative is led by the College Principal and involves all staff, stakeholders and learners.

Policy to Practice

WACC has taken a whole organisational approach to sustainability by developing and implementing its sustainability policy, mapping sustainability into its strategic and operational plans, and including sustainability in all key policies and performance review systems.

The initial focus was on training and developing staff, supporting them to achieve behaviour change and to appreciate the ethical and economic imperatives to working in a more sustainable way.

The College has received support from LSIS through the Leadership for Sustainability programme; Future Leaders programme; Resource Utilisation Network; Cut the Carbon and now Stepping Up to Sustainability funds.


Changing behaviours at all levels is at the heart of WACC’s approach. This has involved communicating the vision of a sustainable future, training staff in sustainability awareness, reviewing use of buildings, recycling, reusing office and learning resources, and reducing consumption in all aspects of daily college life.

A new integrated ICT infrastructure with a ‘lean client’ Cranberry and cloud solution is being implemented to provide a more practical and energy efficient communications service, which will improve communications and support more flexible working for both staff and learners.

A ‘paper-low’ boardroom has been developed along with a new approach to recording meetings, which has significantly reduced paper usage and made meetings shorter, more focused and efficient.

The College's energy rating has improved from a D to a C and operating costs have been reduced by 10%.


WACC have launched the Ascentis Level 1 Sustainability Awareness course and 100+ staff members have gained qualifications. Their learning on the course has been implemented both at work and at home.

The College has engaged in the Leaders of the Future programme and contributed to its delivery. They are also currently developing a Sustainability Awareness induction programme for new staff and learners on their Moodle.

The College contributed to the Reaching Forward Index, which it is using within its self-assessment and action-planning process. They are currently involved in the LiFE initiative and in building an international sustainability network.

Sustainability has been embedded into the curriculum; built into lesson observations; reviewed within the SAR; included in staff interview and selection programmes and in staff appraisal and performance review processes.

Staff members report that the commitment to sustainability and their engagement in the initiative has improved their feeling of empowerment and increased their satisfaction in the workplace.

In a recent development event, staff engaged in a rich pictures exercise where they made stencils that represented how they feel about working in the college and the screen-printed them. Environmental sustainability was a key theme in the screen-print they produced.

Promoting and Passing-it-On

WACC have reflected their commitment to sustainability within their new college course brochure, and developed web-pages that include prezi and video materials. They are currently developing Moodle materials, including a moodle-based induction and the Ascentis Level 1 Sustainability Awareness course on line.

College learners have set up and are running a ‘re-use’ shop where materials and resources can be swapped and accessed for second-life use by staff and learners.

The College has worked in partnerships with the Council and the local Housing Group to develop a community farm, market-garden and a food recycling programme run by staff, learners and local volunteers.

The College has also established a new network of community learning providers and will be rolling out its sustainability message across the network, enabling the college to reach further into promoting sustainability in community, business and third sector practice.

A capital investment programme is now in place to refurbish one of the college centres. This includes, where possible, affordable and effective, the application of green technologies and energy efficient systems. The refurbished building will provide a ‘hub’ for show-casing simple energy efficiency practices across the local community.

The Principal delivers a dissemination workshop on the LSIS Future Leaders programme and she has led workshops across the wider Walsall Council. The College Sustainability Ambassador recently led an awareness-raising event for 300 Birmingham City Council staff which was highly regarded.

The College has been awarded a Princes Trust Fellowship Business in the Community Award for developing employees in sustainability, and the College Principal has recently been nominated and appointed as a West Midlands Green Leader.

For more information on the college's sustainable development journey, see the sustainability videos on the WACC website.

Main Contact Name: Maria Gilling, Principal
Main Contact Email & Telephone: gillingm@walsall.gov.uk and 01922 654592
Further information website: www.wacc.ac.uk
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