Stratford-upon-Avon College is proud to be taking part in Collaborate to Train; a project co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) to boost the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises across Coventry & Warwickshire.
Ashlea Mallett, the College’s Sustainability Advisor, is working with a range of local businesses in Coventry & Warwickshire to support them to reach their sustainability goals through the project.
Ashlea detailed why the College got involved: “Stratford-upon-Avon College decided offering sustainability support not only addressed a need for future proofing in business, but also would be a unique offering as the only partner on the project with a dedicated sustainability consultant for employers to access.”
The £1.75m project is co-funded by the European Social Fund until the end of 2023 and therefore is free of charge for businesses who take part.
Ashlea is hoping that the College’s involvement will have a lasting impact: “We are hoping to have supported at least 15 small businesses in achieving their business goals by adopting more sustainable practises without large expenditures or feeling overwhelmed – small things such as being the ear on the ground for them in funding opportunities, and possible collaboration and bouncing ideas between each other for possible progressions on their journey. We would also be thrilled to have been part of facilitating and encouraging community engagement in sustainability across the region, as this is a key result we are looking for and a great example of how a business can have impact without having to reframe their entire business model.”
Ashlea is currently working with a number of businesses in the area including The Farm Stratford-upon-Avon, Launch Agency and Chin Badger Media to name a few.
The Farm is a family run business that showcases local Artisan produce and promotes ethical, wholesome and sustainable food. They are pleased with the support they receive: “Ashlea’s support is comprehensive, and joining together with like-minded businesses gives us hope that we can make a real collective difference. Assessing our operations is an essential part of making tangible steps towards a more sustainable future, and as a business we couldn’t be happier to be a part of this.”
Launch Agency, specialists who help start-up and SMEs deliver positive change, commented: “We’re so excited to be working with Ashlea on improving our business’ sustainability. Ashlea has shared plenty of useful resources and events that will help broaden our knowledge and how we can have a positive impact as a business on the planet. As a new business, we are extremely conscious of the impact that we have on the world and how we can set our standards for ourselves, that we can be held accountable to. We look forward to continuing to work with the College as we progress through our sustainability journey.”
Ashlea is thoroughly enjoying the project: “It’s really exciting working with businesses like The Farm Stratford and Launch Agency so far. Watching these businesses engage with sustainability internally and externally is extremely rewarding and we have many exciting ideas in the pipeline. Being able to tie together not-for-profits with organisations wanting to do more to have a positive impact on people and nature is everything we could want as a result of our efforts, and we have already started seeing this come together.”
The Collaborate To Train project sees the College working alongside Coventry City Council, Coventry College, Coventry University, Warwickshire College Group, Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire & Hinckley College.