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Embedding sustainable practice and climate literacy within accreditation requirements for education and training programmes

Entry and access to the built environment professional registers, that is qualified professionals, often require the successful completion of a recognised, or accredited, programme. These recognised programmes can underpin the knowledge, skills and/or sometimes behaviours, needed to be qualified built environment professionals.

With a variety of professional qualification registers available, and through a range of educational and competence levels, recognised programmes can consist of, but are not limited to:

  • Formal qualifications, such as BTECs, City and Guilds, HNCs and HND, NVQs, SVQs etc
  • Degree programmes, at Bachelors and Masters level
  • Apprenticeships, including English Apprenticeship Standards, Scottish or Welsh Apprenticeship Frameworks, and
  • In-company training programmes.

Where professional institutions do carry out the formal recognition, or accreditation, of programmes, there are often:

  • Boards, committees and panels that formulate and define the curriculum, standards and other requirements against which all accreditation decisions are made in their discipline areas for each professional register;
  • Standards and guidance in relation to Accreditation, for education and training providers to meet for each professional register; and
  • Accreditation Panels who carry out the independent review of programmes to ensure they meet the standards and other requirements set by the professional (and regulatory) body.

In many cases, there is also an overarching regulatory body, such as the Architects Registration Board (ARB) or the Engineering Council (EngC) that also set out the minimal criteria for accredited programmes, and regulate the manner in which professional institutions assess, review and confer accredited status to recognised programmes. The promotion of recognised programmes is also regulated to ensure currency and, increasingly, mutual recognition at an international level.

As many stakeholders, and often external quality assurance processes, are involved in education and training, making changes to accreditation requirements can take significant time to implement, with those individuals coming through recognised programmes often only coming to professional qualification review many years down the line.

Making changes to accreditation requirements and processes need to be considered over a significant time period, consideration given to the wider education and skills policies and regulatory requirements in each nation, and the need to support and guide those seeking professional recognition of programmes also considered.

Case Study: Joint Board of Moderators (JBM): Enhancing and embedding sustainable practice and climate literacy within accredited degree programmes

The Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprises five professional engineering institutions:

Activity 3: Ensuring your institution’s accreditation requirements and recognition of programmes embed sustainable practice and climate literacy

The purpose of this activity is to help your institution to define and embed sustainable practice and climate literacy within accreditation standards and processes, be that for technical or degree level programmes. Your institution should work through the questions below, which will enable your organisation to assess its current position with regards to accreditation criteria, and where the institution might move towards.