Even those who teach need to keep learning. Earlier this summer 36 teachers from across the county came together to grow their professional learning and knowledge at the first ever East Sussex Teacher Encounter event.

Continuing Professional Development

The Continuing Professional Development day focused on the construction and engineering sectors. The event highlighted the speed with which these industries are changing as they adapt to new innovations such as AI, automation and the transition to net zero and green skills.

The future of the industry and the new techniques being developed were discussed at the event, which was designed to show teachers how careers in these industries link directly to the curriculum they teach in classrooms.

New training hub

The all-day event was held at the Eastbourne campus of East Sussex College and the new Green Skills Training Hub in Hampden Park.

The training hub was launched at the end of last year through a partnership between OHM Energy and East Sussex College Group. The Hub aims to deliver training to adults and young people in the growing green energy sector.

Damian Richards, Head of Green Technology at East Sussex College Group, was delighted at the reaction to the new facility.

“Everyone is thrilled to see what a fantastic facility we have here and how this can help young people and adult’s lives in training them in emerging green technology.”


Employment opportunities in construction and engineering were highlighted to the careers advisors and teachers who attended, raising awareness of the jobs available and inspiring those working with young people to encourage their students into careers in these sectors.

Nick Backstrom, Low Carbon & Hydrogen Strategic Skills Lead at Cogent Skills, commented: “It’s useful for employers, providers, teachers to come together to share a common language and for teachers to get an understanding from companies about what skills are necessary for the future.”

By providing teachers with an opportunity to engage directly with employers, they were able to see and learn first-hand about the different career pathways relevant to their subjects and to observe how their subject is applied practically in business.

For example, traditionally plumbing students have started their courses thinking about gas, but Lee Dunstall, a plumbing tutor at East Sussex College, hoped the event would help change this.

“Hopefully we can encourage them and re-educate them to think outside the box about the renewable sustainability side of resources.”

Employer-led workshops

Designed to upskill teachers and lecturers in the latest technology, materials and processes in the engineering and construction fields, the day featured employer-led workshops which demonstrated the new technologies being used in these industries.

Russell Aldrich, a plumbing lecturer at East Sussex College Group, said: “All the information has been really useful as I’m currently teaching my year three students about renewable energies – hydrogen, biomass, solar power – everything that’s going to help our planet in the future.

“It’s been a fantastic day and I think everyone has really enjoyed it.”

Workshops covered topics ranging from the latest decorating products and green technology at home, to an introduction to AI and developments in renewable energies and solar car charging.

Angeline Cassina from East Sussex College Group said: “Today has been an amazing day. I’ve learnt so much about air technology, renewable energy, and even how to calculate carbon footprints in buildings and construction.”

Keynote speakers

Inspiring keynote speakers also gave those attending the opportunity to learn about the most up to date information and industry best practice in the construction and engineering fields.

Keynote speakers included Dr Lucy Davies, an aerospace engineer at BAE Systems, and Duncan Baker Brown from BakerBrown, the Lewes based architectural design studio.

Duncan said: “It’s hugely important to do this type of event. We need to make sure we’re attracting inspired young people into universities.

“Young people understand the climate problem. It’s about getting our academics to change the way they teach to have the climate and ecological emergency front and centre.”

Future events

The Careers Hub hope to run a similar training day next year, focusing on two more priority industry sectors in East Sussex – health and social care.

To receive information about similar events or to be involved in the next event please contact the Careers Hub at Enterprise.Coordinator@eastsussex.gov.uk

Teacher Encounter partners

The Teacher Encounter day was run by the East Sussex Careers Hub funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, in partnership with the Construction and Engineering Task Groups who are part of Skills East Sussex, and FE Sussex.