Dr Sarah Hemstock, Programme Leader for Geography at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), has been researching the use of vocational education to support development solutions in the Pacific.
Carried out alongside some of her research students at the University of the South Pacific and the Fiji Disabilities Forum the investigation focuses on climate change and health; evaluating the effectiveness of the European Union Pacific Technical Vocational Education and Training in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation Project (EU PacTVET).
The EU PacTVET is a €6.3 million project running in 15 countries of the Pacific Community. Dr Hemstock was the author of the project and was leading it prior to joining BGU. Exploring the use of TVET to support resilience in the region with an emphasis on climate change and health the projects objective is that by 2030 and beyond the goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; e.g. take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) will be achieved.
According to Dr Hemstock’s research, the project has so far proved successful, achieving three global firsts for education:
- Regional, rather than national accreditation government sanctioned qualifications – Regional Certificates 1-4 in Sustainable Energy and Regional Certificates 1-4 in Resilience (Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction). Accredited by the Educational Quality & Assessment Programme (which covers 26 Pacific countries and territories).
- A new TVET subject area: The development of formal qualifications at levels 1-4 on the Pacific Qualifications Framework, which cover the subject area of “Resilience” (CCA and DRR). Qualification strands include: agriculture, coastal management, energy and infrastructure, fisheries, forestry, health, tourism and water resources. This involved getting “Resilience” recognised as an employment sector in the Pacific region.
- The recognition and professionalization of a “Resilience Sector” via the creation of the Pacific Regional Federation of Resilience Professionals (PRFRP).
Discussing the examination of the project, Dr Hemstock explained that in addition to her past impact on the project BGU would continue to have presence in its progress:
“This research was looking at whether or not the project activities had been successful to date – and it looks like its successful so far in terms of issues relating to climate change and health. We will continue to monitor the longevity and success of project activities with students from BGU and are planning to continue this line of research, and network face to face with Pacific island students, next year on the Geography field trip to Fiji”
In addition to the success of the EU PacTVET, Dr Hemstock’s research has now been published by Taylor and Francis in the Applied Environmental Education & Communication journal.
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More results concerning research around the EU PacTVET project are due to be presented at the International Symposium on Climate Change and the Role of Education here at BGU in April. For more information on how to attend click here.