The city of Sønderborg in Denmark has an ambitious strategy to become a carbon-neutral region by 2029, and its VET college EUC Syd is playing a major role.
EUC Syd has been a partner in the initiative – called ProjectZero – since 2008 and is strongly involved in the region’s green transition.
Sustainability is thus part of the college strategy at all levels.
In its VET, adult training and technical education programmes, it integrates sustainability and green skills through projects, thematic weeks and everyday teaching. EUC Syd has taken the lead in upskilling craftsmen in sustainable construction and renovation and works with the national union in construction sector and the Danish Technological Institute.
“We believe education and training are essential for a green and sustainable transition, as we need the right and updated skills and competencies in our students, but certainly also in staff and in all of us as citizens”, says Lehmann.
EUC Syd hosts twice a year the Bright Green Engineering Seminars for advanced international students in plumbing, ventilation and building. The 2-week seminars focus on thermal shell and indoor climate engineering and introduce future professionals to the latest energy-saving, sustainable developments, equipment and solutions. The seminars are a combination of theory, practice in workshop, and visits in relevant Danish businesses.
EUC Syd also works towards more sustainable ways to operate its building and transport. For example, it recently bought two biogas cars for staff use.
“We have set the target to be carbon-neutral here as well in 2029,” says vice-principal Hans Lehmann. “We therefore work to reduce our transportation, our heat consumption, etc.”
The ProjectZero Roadmap2025 – which seeks a 75 % reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 – is not just a climate action plan but also a green job creation and innovation plan for sustainable growth. Involvement in the project provides EUC Syd with access to networks, partnerships and knowledge to aid development and organisational change. “We believe education and training are essential for a green and sustainable transition, as we need the right and updated skills and competencies in our students, but certainly also in staff and in all of us as citizens”, says Lehmann.
Sønderborg received the 2010 the EU Energy Award in 2010, and the “EU Covenant of Mayors Award – Cities in the Spotlight” in 2018.
In 2016, Sønderborg was accredited as a UNESCO Learning City. EUC Syd – the first VET college in Denmark to do so – is now pursuing the Green Flag Award, which is given to schools and colleges that involve students and staff in securing a sustainable environment.