The motion - entitled Placements, Apprenticeships and Education for Good and submitted by the Society and Citizenship Zone committee – passed with widespread support from student delegates.
The NUS-HEA sustainability skills survey found that 80% of students want their institution to do more on sustainability, and a clear preference from students for more work-based experiential learning.
Many universities now offer paid placements for recent graduates, but the motion stated that many of these seem tokenistic. Similarly, the Government’s drive to train three million new apprentices by 2020 doesn’t prioritise environmental or social sustainability.
Meanwhile, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has published a report outlining how the UK can undergo a clean energy transition to create high-quality and secure a major share of the future clean energy industry. NUS will work with TUC on sustainable career and placement opportunities.
As a result of the motion passing, NUS now resolves to work with the National Society of Apprentices (NSOA) and other partners to establish new apprenticeship standards relating to sustainability – to equip students with skills for a low carbon and circular economy.
In addition, NUS resolved to use its collective lobbying power to support NSOA in their work with the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) to include sustainability as a functional skill alongside literacy and numeracy, and to ensure fair funding for sustainable apprenticeships.
Alongside this, NUS is to establish a Placements for Good scheme to complement its Dissertations for Good scheme.
Finally, as a result of this motion, NUS will work with Apprentice Extra, National Society of Apprentices and Trade Unions to facilitate ease of access and promote the benefits of union membership for apprentices and students, and ensure all of the above work is carried out in the most appropriate way in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.