Birkbeck offers a fantastic climate for learning

Thanks to the historic partnership with unionlearn, Birkbeck, University of London offers a 10 per cent discount for trade union members – including courses that will build green skills.

Birkbeck Campus

Hundreds of trade union members have taken advantage of this opportunity, studying courses in subjects from law to counselling to business and accounting, and attending evening classes that mean it’s possible to attend lectures and seminars and gain a University of London degree, while still working during the day.

Birkbeck’s excellent Department of Geography offers courses around environmental management, climate change and environment and sustainability.

One trade union member who has taken up this opportunity is Malcolm Powers. Malcolm is a member of Community and a freelance communication and training consultant, mostly working with local government.

Malcolm is studying part-time towards an MSc in climate change. The course takes a cross-disciplinary approach, covering the science, policy and economics of climate change, as well as practical aspects such as renewable energy and sustainable business practice.

Malcolm explained why he decided to sign up for this course:

Sustainability and climate change are lifelong interests. But since I started working as a freelancer, I have found that a lot of the organisations that I am working with are focusing more and more on how they should respond to the climate emergency, so it’s definitely helping with my career.”

The course has been varied and has a range of optional modules. Malcolm chose environmental policy, sustainable business practice, the science of climate change, renewable energy, environmental economics and environmental modelling, and has just got the dissertation to go.

Malcolm has found Birkbeck inspiring and said:

I have enjoyed all aspects of the course but have focused in on climate change governance and policy as my specialist area. The cross-disciplinary nature of the course has meant that students have a wide range of directions they can take in their studies.”

I picked Birkbeck primarily because of the course content and because it allowed me to continue to work full-time while studying. Birkbeck is an incredibly welcoming place and both the academic and support staff have been really supportive.”

The discount available to trade union members has also helped and Malcolm said:

It has certainly helped make studying more affordable.”

Having been away from higher education for a long time, Malcolm said he found the support and advice at Birkbeck amazing and has made some good friends. He has also rediscovered learning looks forward to using it, saying:

It’s not only the knowledge that I have gained, but I have already found that refreshing my critical thinking skills has been beneficial to work.”

Birkbeck has definitely given me the bug for further study and I have been actively looking for potential PhD places.”

Go to the link to find out about Birkbeck and the trade union discount go to the link below:

This case study first appeared in the unionlearn publication “Cutting Carbon, Growing Skills: green skills for a just transition