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FutureLearn’s COP28 Inspired Initiatives: Fostering a Global Community of Learners Committed to Sustainability

laptop with 'COP 28' written on top

As the world gears up for COP28, FutureLearn, a leading online learning platform, is taking proactive steps to contribute to global sustainability efforts through a series of sustainability and socio-economic development-themed courses and initiatives – aimed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills necessary for building a more sustainable future. 

Recognising the urgency of addressing the skills gap in the pursuit of sustainable development, FutureLearn offers learners a comprehensive range of courses on themes of ‘sustainability’ and ‘climate change’, designed to empower them to contribute meaningfully to sustainability efforts worldwide. These courses include: The Regenerative Agriculture Revolution, Climate and Energy: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Ecology and Wildlife Conservation, Using Systems Thinking to Tackle the Climate and Biodiversity Crisis, Environmental Challenges: Rights and Values in Ecosystem Services, Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures, and Renewable Energy: Sustainable Electricity Supply with Microgrids

Dr Aisling Tierney, from the University of Bristol, who delivers the Sustainable Futures course on FutureLearn, commented: “With so much global strike and environmental upheaval around us, it’s easy to feel disheartened and uncertain about how we can make a positive difference. In this context, it’s crucial to reflect on our well-being, happiness and motivations for sustainability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is where the Sustainable Futures course on FutureLearn can help. It provides practical tips for everyday life, inspires local and global action, and makes a sustainable future a reality for everyone. Year after year, our learners reflect on the transformative power of their experiences on the course and consider it time well spent.”   

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City and Guilds, said: “It’s never been more critical for the UK to move towards greener sources of energy if we are to meet our commitments in the race against climate change. Upskilling, reskilling and new skills are all required for the industry – as well as cross sector given the breadth and scale of climate change. The demand for skills across all aspects of climate change is at a phenomenal scale and pace if we are to have a chance to catch up and then get ahead”.

In a groundbreaking initiative, FutureLearn recently unveiled a strategic partnership with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. This momentous announcement took place at an official side event of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2023. Through this dynamic partnership, FutureLearn will provide free access to online courses on sustainable development issues for 100,000 lifelong learners in UNESCO learning cities across the globe.

As part of this partnership, UNESCO learning cities, which encompass 292 cities across 76 countries, will encourage local participants to upskill on environmental and sustainability matters by taking advantage of FutureLearn’s comprehensive courses in these vital subject areas. As an integral part of this initiative, participants will benefit from free access to the courses at an accelerated pace, quality testing to assess their learnings, and the opportunity to receive a digital Certificate of Achievement upon successful course completion. 

Rt. Hon. Jo Johnson, FutureLearn’s Chairman, says: “Education is a fundamental driver of sustainable development, and to maximise these benefits, we must tap into the full potential of our human capital.

This partnership will make an invaluable contribution to that goal and we look forward to working with Governments and other bodies around the world to create similar vehicles, that ensure access to quality education for all” 

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