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Sustainability and Inclusive Leadership for SMEs – positive feedback from early courses

Whether you are a business owner, line manager or member of staff in an eligible Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), this course is relevant for you to learn about how you can make a difference to sustainability in your personal and professional life.

SAIL generic artwork

This support is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Whether you are a business owner, line manager or member of staff in an eligible Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), this course is relevant for you to learn about how you can make a difference to sustainability in your personal and professional life.

It is run by Nottingham Business School (NBS) and NTU's Green Academy with places available for employees of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire-based SMEs, with a small number of places offered to larger organisations.

Our first cohort kicked off in September, and since then we’ve already had some brilliant feedback from the participants.

Victoria Green from Spenbeck, an award-winning property development company that gives new life to the historic buildings of Nottingham said: “There is so much about ‘sustainability’ and ‘inclusive leadership’ around but finding a course that eloquently and systematically puts the key aspects together, whilst not just educating but challenging any preconceptions participants might have had, is a valuable combination.”

She adds: “Learning about sustainability in more detail has made me realise that as a company, we are already doing a number of things in our quest to be more sustainable, but that there are also a number of elements that we can put into practice almost immediately which will be high impact solutions. That in itself is very rewarding”.

Similarly, Grace Holland from Cultivate IT, a local IT solutions company that is passionate about protecting the planet said: “The SAIL course at Nottingham Trent University is informative and inspiring. Completing the course has helped me expand my knowledge of both the environmental challenges we face and the sustainable solutions that will drive change. Crucially, this course also provided an opportunity to embed and formalise sustainability and carbon reduction commitments in both my personal and professional life”.

Grace continues: “This course is a must for everyone, whether they are starting on their sustainability journey or a sustainability leader wanting to drive action in their community or organisation. It is essential for making sustainability the norm.”

Helen Bee from Clean Living also felt positive after undertaking the course, commenting: “A thought-provoking course that gave several different outlooks to consider. It gave a solid framework that will act as a positive reference when striving to make conscious decisions in all elements of our operations.”

Jenny Lowthrop from Feel Good Do Good says: “I learnt so much during the SAIL course and found they offered lots of practical ways to link the Sustainable Development Goals and key priorities for stopping climate change with your business. We can make a difference and such a huge part of that is educating everyone else so we all know how small things can make a big change for our world. Al, Alex and Helen who deliver the course are great and a friendly bunch to spend three mornings online with. I only wish Covid allowed us to meet in person!”

SAIL Teams pic

Our SAIL course is delivered over three days and focuses on increasing climate literacy and sustainability in local SMEs, and how this is connected to COVID-19 recovery.

It is delivered completely online in a 5-hour block (9 am – 2 pm), to make it accessible to those with responsibilities such as school-age children and other work commitments. Attendees should be aware that they will be required to attend all sessions to complete the course and gain accreditation.

Sign up now

To express an interest for you or your colleagues to take part, email for information on securing a place on upcoming dates.

You can also find further details, including the full course content and learning outcomes on our website.

Please note that to be eligible for this course, you will need to be an employee of a D2N2-based SME, but a small number of places are available to charities, third sector and larger organisations. A full eligibility check will take place prior to enrolment.

  • Notes for editors

    For press enquiries, please contact Joe Boultby-Ward, ESF Marketing Manager by email or on +44 (0)115 878 8899.

    • The High Level Skills programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and is made up of two complementary projects – Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs, and GRADS for D2N2.
    • The projects have received £2,201,163 (Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs) and £7,360,994 (GRADS for D2N2) of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.
    • The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the English European Social Fund programme.
    • Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.
    • For more information, visit

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