Building a ‘green collar’ workforce with the new WorkforClimate Academy

With a mission to equip a ‘green collar’ workforce with the blueprint for workplace climate action, the new WorkforClimate Academy is derailing ‘business as usual’ and dramatically accelerating the decarbonisation efforts of the corporate sector. WorkforClimate’s Director, Lucy Piper, and Strategy and Program Development Consultant, Lydia Hascott, lift the curtain on why and how they built the course.

Wendy Williams
April 27, 2023
5 min read

For the past six months, it’s been all hands on deck at WorkforClimate. The team has been working hard behind the scenes to build a climate education course – with a difference.

The result is the WorkforClimate Academy, an online course designed to give changemakers the knowledge, confidence, networks and skills they need to drive climate action within their workplaces.

Lydia Hascott, the Academy’s Strategy and Program Development consultant, hopes the course helps participants realise they’re not alone and that change is possible.

“Corporate cultures tend to encourage employees to hide behind a corporate mask and avoid sharing what they care about,” Lydia says. “This can make climate-concerned employees feel like they're alone in wanting to speak up and take action. Through WorkforClimate, these folk not only realise that there's a whole community of humans like them, but that they have a name, an identity: climate intrapreneurs.”

So far, so great! But what does it take to actually build a course like this?

Lydia, who has been designing and scaling capacity building programmes for a decade, says it helps when you're working in a startup culture alongside “a talented, vision and values-aligned team”.

“I feel like we're the 2023 version of Captain Planet: ‘When our powers combine!’” she jokes. “The finished result feels like it has ten times the content, depth and practical support for climate intrapreneurs than any of us envisaged at the start.”

But she is also quick to pay homage to the climate intrapreneurs who have come before her. “I've been so energised by synthesising the insights of the courageous pioneers I've learned from over the years into one coherent form as a springboard for others,” Lydia says. “I'm really proud to be channelling their learning on to others so the ripple effects of impact can continue to grow.”

"This course explores that question, and helps you determine the goals to focus on inside of your organisation. It helps you transform your individual action into corporate action which, in turn, can drive systems change."

The new online Academy itself is built on WorkforClimate’s previous in-person courses.The goal, according to WorkforClimate director Lucy Piper, is to scale the delivery of the Academy curriculum “to as many people as possible, as fast as possible, and build a 'green collar' workforce”.

Of course, creating a course like this isn’t without its challenges. The risk with developing an on-demand, self-paced version of a live course is that you struggle to replicate the community and coaching elements.

But Lydia feels confident that the digestible, dynamic content and ongoing access to a like-minded community of Academy graduates will help empower more changemakers to drive action, faster. “It's exciting to learn when the content feels sexy,” she says.

Both Lucy and Lydia agree the dual curriculum – that gives participants the technical knowledge of corporate climate transitions while also growing their capacity to lead and influence change – sets this course apart.

“It threads together divergent disciplines to create a sum greater than the parts,” Lucy says. “The technical climate knowledge modules teach participants about the what and the why (a deep dive into the most critical climate priorities for corporations), and the leadership modules provide actionable frameworks for collaboration, influence and transformation.”

As Lydia says, “All the knowledge in the world is only useful to a climate intrapreneur if they feel equipped to put it into action. And that's what the Academy is: an infrastructure for action.”

And why is this important? Because at the heart of WorkforClimate’s model is the belief that employees are powerful agents of change, both within a company and within the broader system.

“It’s about how can I as an individual have exponential impact?” Lucy says. "This course explores that question, and helps you determine the goals to focus on inside of your organisation. It helps you transform your individual action into corporate action which, in turn, can drive systems change.”

Her hope is that participants come away from the Academy with increased critical thinking skills around corporate climate commitments, and an ability and motivation to interrogate their company's climate policy in a meaningful way.

Lydia says ultimately it's up to those inside a company to respond to external pressure and actually make the changes required.

“Climate intrapreneurs are the essential link between demanding change and making it happen,” she says. “In making space for climate intrapreneurs in the climate movement, progress is more likely to happen at the speed and scale climate science requires.”

Want to accelerate your workplace’s climate transition? Enrol in the WorkforClimate Academy now.

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