Meet Susan McSeveney, our new director. Susan discusses why engaging young people in sustainability matters is crucial to tackling the climate emergency.
If you follow The Verdancy Group on LinkedIn, you may have caught the news that Susan McSeveney has joined our team as a director.
We’re thrilled to welcome Susan to the team for several reasons. Following a 14-year career in education, Susan brings a unique perspective into curriculum support and training for young people.
Susan’s passion for sustainability shines through, and her commitment to supporting young people’s environmental training guides the work she does here at The Verdancy Group.
We sat down with Susan to discuss her role, her ambitions for the future and her views on sustainability, including what she considers the top priorities in the fight against climate change.
What inspired you to join The Verdancy Group?
“A serendipitous meeting with Steven, The Verdancy Group’s Co-Founder, piqued my interest in the company. I worked at a Scottish college where my role focused on developing curriculum and training opportunities for students studying construction and the built environment and engineering.
“I realised that there was very little in their curriculum in terms of sustainability. But in the world of work, sustainable issues are becoming a huge focus. Students need to understand how their actions at work impact the environment.
“I met Steven at a college networking event and was immediately interested in The Verdancy Group’s Waste in The Circular Economy award, accredited at SCQF Level 5, which we promptly adopted at the college.
“I was inspired by the difference the course made to our students’ learning and saw-first hand the value of increasing young learners’ access to sustainability education.
“I found the experience to be very meaningful and wanted to help The Verdancy Group engage more college learners with this important topic.
“Given my background, I was immersed in the challenges that colleges face and saw opportunities for The Verdancy Group to refine their offering to make it even more beneficial to academic institutions across Scotland.”
What is your role at The Verdancy Group?
“I am a director at The Verdancy Group. My work involves supporting the company with insight into educational challenges and developing new training solutions to help fulfil their needs.
“Scottish colleges work so hard to provide students with the best possible education. But they also face challenges, from resourcing to time allocation, so consistently delivering a quality curriculum can be extremely tough.
“I make sure the training and support The Verdancy Group provides is relevant, current and directly meets or customers’ needs. That way, learners can gain a strong foundation in environmental practices, setting them up in the best possible way for the world of work.”
What made you interested in sustainability issues?
“While I’ve always had a peripheral interest in sustainability matters, it wasn’t something I fully appreciated until I became a mother four years ago.
“I began reflecting on how we are supporting the younger generations to contend with the climate emergency that we will be leaving them. Right now, we’re far from where we should be.
“It’s really encouraging to see more being done in Scotland to promote a circular economy and achieve net zero emissions. But we’re still not doing enough to equip the youngest members of our community with the information and skills they need to protect the environment in the long term.
“With The Verdancy Group, I saw an opportunity to make a difference, and to contribute to long-term learning about sustainability. In the future, I hope to see more young people being taught about circular design, sustainable practices, and their roles in reducing climate change.”
What do you think are the most effective ways to tackle the climate emergency?
“Having worked with young people throughout most of my career, I can tell you that they are engaged, motivated and hard-working. Young people are our richest resource in the fight against climate change, and, sadly, the responsibility to respond to the climate emergency will soon rest on their shoulders.
“I believe that the best way to combat climate change is to equip young people with an understanding of what causes it, and the actions they can take to reduce it. It’s been inspiring to oversee partnerships between colleges and businesses sponsoring sustainable education courses.
“But we don’t need to wait for college or university to start educating young people about environmental issues. We can begin at primary school level and ensure pupils receive frequent exposure to information about sustainability throughout their academic careers.
“I’ve been impressed by the way The Verdancy Group has delivered support to learning institutions of every level, from working with primary schools to deliver the YES Circular Economy Challenge, to hosting Developing the Young Workforce training groups at high schools like Speyside, through to more rigorous sustainability training at institutions like Fife College and Glasgow Clyde College.
“It’s so important that we get young people engaged from the earliest moments so that they can contribute to lowering our carbon emissions and supporting circular methods of design once they enter the world of work.”
What are you looking forward to next?
“I’m very excited to help The Verdancy Group deliver more courses to learning institutions across Scotland. Right now, we’re looking at ways to tailor our flagship qualifications to a wider range of industries. We believe firmly that every job is a green job, so every form of vocational course should feature a sustainability component.
“I’m also looking forward to overseeing more partnerships between businesses and colleges. As businesses adapt their offering to improve their green credentials, they’re going to need every member of their workforce to appreciate their role in protecting the environment.
“When businesses partner with schools, everyone benefits: students increase their appreciation for sustainable issues, improving their employment prospects, while businesses have a rich pool of suitably educated candidates to choose from when recruiting.”
We’re so pleased that Susan has joined our team. We believe her insight will be crucial during The Verdancy Group’s next chapter. Please help us to welcome Susan. If you’d like to arrange a discussion about how we work with businesses and high schools, get in touch.
Discover the latest expert insights from our team in The Verdancy Group blog. From education and academia to sustainability in business, read more on circular economy and green recovery.