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Title: Developing action strategies for sustainable living amongst employees at a UK university
Author: Mifsud, Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 3186
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2016
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The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2014) has undoubtedly raised the discourse on the principles of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and provided a platform for healthy debates on infusing ESD in curricula and ways to overcome the barriers that exist to implementation programmes. Furthermore, the decade has also strengthened community based ESD activities and initiatives. This research study addresses a gap in research within the field of ESD by exploring the routes to the design process of ESD programmes for employees at their workplace. The research also attempts to investigate the potential of infusing thinking skills in ESD training programmes for employees. Primary data was collected from a higher education institution in the UK through in-depth interviews and casual conversations with a set of employees. The findings suggest that a design process for employee programmes on ESD should be needs based and context specific. Whilst it is acknowledged that employees have an important role to play in driving the organisation’s sustainability strategy forward, the study has found that not only are ESD training programmes for employees non-existent, but neither are employees effectively invited to participate and engage in shaping the sustainability strategy of the organisation. The inclusion of thinking skills in ESD training programmes may assist employees feel adequately empowered to engage in needs based ESD training programmes relevant to their role at work and to their life beyond the workplace. The study highlights the role thinking skills have in cultivating a thinking culture within an organisation as part of its response to the challenges of sustainable development today. Yet the research findings suggest employees’ awareness on the benefits of thinking skills training is low. The research has found that employees lack the confidence, competency, motivation and time to engage in an exercise whereby they are able to identify their own training needs for ESD programmes. On the other hand, however, there is clear evidence that employees feel consistent and genuine senior management commitment would be a key requirement if ESD training is adopted as a route for the organisation to attain its sustainability targets. Finally, results from the study indicate that employees are of the opinion that bespoke ESD training for employees would most likely lead to behavioural change.
Supervisor: Plant, Malcolm ; Wade, Ros Sponsor: University of Malta
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral