The UNESCO-UNEVOC in collaboration with Circle Economy facilitated a training session for DUT staff on Circular Economy in Entrepreneurial Learning for TVET Institutions. The training was conducted in a hybrid platform on 21 – 22 September 2022. Seven other TVET institutions that are in the UNESCO-UNEVOC network also participated in the training.

The training was part of the capacity-building programme to support TVET institutions and training providers in implementing measures to adapt to an accelerated phase of digitalization of education, training, and work. The programme seeks to strengthen the capabilities of TVET personnel and institutions and training providers in facilitating young people in their entry or re-entry to new job markets and entrepreneurial ventures, with a focus on youth affected by unemployment due to the covid-19 pandemic and the uptake of circular economy principles to move towards a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable post-pandemic recovery.

The programme aims to support university staff to raise their institutional and personal capability to adopt circular economy and green approaches for skills for employment in circular economy and green jobs. Furthermore, the programme seeks to enhance the knowledge and capabilities of graduates and staff in fields that can accelerate sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic recovery by designing and delivering programmes on circular economy.

The concept model of circular economy or circularity is centred around keeping products and materials in circulation for as long as possible. It encourages sustainable consumption and production, by encouraging the reusing, repairing, recycling, leasing, and sharing of existing materials. One of the greatest steps that are needed in mitigating the effects of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future, is for us to adopt circular lifestyles.

The two-day training session was an eye-opening experience for all those in attendance. Despite there being a focus on how the model of a circular economy could be integrated into entrepreneurial learning, it quickly became evident that a circular approach could and should be integrated into all fields if we are truly to become a sustainable society that simultaneously fosters innovation.

This training highlighted all the core pillars in the ENVISION2030 framework but placed a strong emphasis on the pillar of sustainability. The training was rooted in developing and maintaining sustainable practices, putting environmental awareness at the centre of all activities, and adopting a future-orientated approach.

The training was divided into six core modules, namely:  Module I: Introduction to the circular economy and the 8 key elements; Module II: Working and learning in a circular economy; Module III: Circular businesses and value hill mapping; Module IV: Circular value proposition and circular business canvas; Module V: Diving deeper into the circular economy; Module VI: Circular business envisioning.

The session also provided participants with a series of exciting practical exercises, which reinforced the concept of circular economy and sustainability, and provided tools and exercises for businesses and institutions to successfully integrate a circular structure into their operations. The final activity of the programme involved the participants actively putting together teaching goals and plans that would allow them to incorporate circular economy into their current curriculum.

The training session was a great success, and all those who attended presented glowing reviews. Ultimately, all those who attended have gained new knowledge on the practical implementations and principles of circularity, with the ability to contextualize its application to their specific fields. They have also all demonstrated confidence in integrating the concept of circularity into their individual and collective learning and teaching processes. One of the staff who attended the training, Dr Julius Oluwasegun Aroba, a Lecturer at the Information Systems Department in the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics said that the training was useful, met his expectations, and can be integrated into the curriculum. “All faculties need to come together either using the General Education module for central integration,” he said.

Reflecting on the training, Ms Phumzile Xulu, the Engagement Practitioner under the office of the DVC Research Innovation and Engagement, said that DUT is grateful to UNESCO-UNEVOC for allowing staff to participate in this training programme. “The skills and knowledge gained will certainly contribute to building the culture of circularity at DUT as more staff integrate circular economy teaching in the curriculum,” she said.

Picture: Staff who attended the ToT from two hybrid sites at DUT

Tracy Khuzwayo

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