Case Study:

Green Skills for Building Trade -
Understanding the Legal and Social Drivers for Change
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage;
Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE


The Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE joined the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program in 2007 and is committed to educating its staff on environmental risk management and sustainability. The Institute has been working closely with staff in its building-related sections (architecture, building, electrical trades, carpentry and joinery, shopfitting) to facilitate the incorporation of sustainability outcomes into teaching programs. The key driver for this is the desire to move the Institute from a compliance culture towards a sustainability culture.

SD Environmental Management was engaged to develop and deliver an interactive training course which would take participants on a journey from compliance to sustainability using case studies, activities and facilitated discussions. The training course needed to provide practical information and activities to educate and inform participants of the Institute’s current focus on compliance with NSW legislation and the development of its EMS. Case studies of relevant prosecutions under the POEO Act were provided to illustrate the importance of compliance with legislation across a variety of building-related sectors.

The course also needed to introduce the changing focus of the building sector nationally (to one of “green building”) and provide advice and suggestions as to how to move towards sustainability (as individual teachers, as an Institution and as an industry sector).

SD Environmental Management developed a 5-hour interactive training module which was divided into three distinct sections:

  • Where are we now? From compliance to sustainability; compliance at NSI and overview of the Institute’s EMS; NSW environmental legislation and case studies
  • Where are we heading? Drivers for change in the building industry; government initiatives; case studies of sustainable building
  • How do we get there? Green Skills Program; developing a training plan for teachers at NSI

The final session involved a brainstorming activity which identified barriers and opportunities for moving towards a sustainability culture and enabled teachers to identify the types of training resources and other assistance they require to facilitate this process. The workshop was well received by all participants with 100% of attendees rating it as either very good or excellent.

Participant Comments

"Very informative – excellent knowledge, particularly of the legislation."

"As with all forums that are informative and interesting - more time is needed!"

"Well presented – it has given me areas to work on within my section."

"Excellent workshop – keep on passing on this message."

"The workshop was filled with relevance to our staff in Building and Construction training and assessment. Thankyou Sonja for tailoring the program so well."