Minister praises college for ‘innovative’ eco agenda
Published: 24th May 2021
A senior government minister has praised a Cornish college group for its innovation in the sustainable agriculture sector ahead of the G7 leader’s summit this June.
The secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, George Eustice, visited Duchy College Rosewarne last week to discuss the ways in which the leading land-based college is putting sustainability at the heart of its programme, whilst providing the skills that local employers are crying out for.
Lithium extraction was also high up on the agenda following the news that the Rosewarne campus, which is part of The Cornwall College Group (TCCG), could be one of a handful of sites where Cornish Lithium plan to drill a ‘geothermal lithium borehole’, which could go on to generate heat for use in food production. Cornish Lithium aims to extract the lithium from the geothermal waters; the heat from these waters is currently a waste by-product, which could be used as a low carbon heat source for horticulture.
Following the visit Mr Eustice, who himself studied at the college, said: “Here at Duchy College Rosewarne there is some fantastic work that goes on in environmental courses.
“As we come up to the G7, where the environment is going to feature very prominently, some of the work going on here in sustainable agriculture and the work going on in terms of having a borehole for lithium and using the heat generated from that to heat glass houses for crop production, is exactly the kind of innovation that is going to give us the solutions to the environmental challenges we face.”
This follows a recent contract signing from TCCG that will see all of its electricity supplied from British wind farms – a contract that has saved more than 1,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions already.
Principal and chief executive of The Cornwall College Group, John Evans, commented: “It was great to have the opportunity to share the exciting initiatives we are involved in across our 10 campuses with the secretary of state.
“Not only do we have the prospect of a lithium borehole here at Duchy College Rosewarne, which will help reduce the environmental impact of crop production, but the cutting-edge facilities at our Future Farm site in the north of the county is a trailblazer when it comes to finding solutions to the climate crisis in the agriculture industry.
“We’re very grateful to the secretary of state for his ongoing support with these initiatives and look forward to sharing updates as they progress.”
As part of TCCG’s commitment to engaging local employers with the college’s curriculum and growth plans, David Simmons, MD of local food producer Riviera Produce, was in attendance to discuss how the latest developments would transfer into jobs for the college’s students.
During the visit, Mr Eustice also met with TCCG assistant principal Sarah Houghton and the interim head of campus for Duchy College Rosewarne, Justin Olosunde.
Sarah added: “It was great to be able to share some of the fantastic land-based opportunities and developments in sustainability taking place across our campuses throughout Devon and Cornwall, including the recent completion of our bespoke research and teaching facility at Future Farm in Stoke Climsland.”
TCCG is going from strength-to-strength with notable investment in student experiences, quality outcomes and a focus on career-led courses for all.