Blogs (Media Centre)

SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS: How TAFE NSW helped Leah on her mission for change

TAFE NSW National Environment Centre

SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS: How TAFE NSW helped Leah on her mission for change

CHANGE FOR GOOD: Snowy Mountains entrepreneur Leah Foster says TAFE NSW has helped her bolster her business while also making a positive environmental impact.

22 January 2024

A Snowy Mountains entrepreneur with a passion for the environment has credited TAFE NSW with helping her build a sustainability “firewall” around her businesses.

Leah Foster, 30, who runs local creative agency Leeway Studio and has recently bought into eco-certified outdoor adventure company K7 Adventures, has long been a vocal advocate for sustainability, even living in a “tiny house” on a Crackenback property to reduce her environmental footprint.

But it was a desire to make her businesses more sustainable during the peak of COVID that led her to enrol in a Diploma of Sustainable Practice at TAFE NSW, a decision she said had profound benefits for both her businesses and customers.

A recent study found more than half of Australian consumers now consider sustainability an extremely or slightly important purchase criteria when shopping, while Linkedin’s Global Green Skills Report found sustainability managers enjoyed the largest jump in job openings in the sector between 2016 and 2021, growing 24 per cent nationally.

“I’ve long had a sense of underlying dread when it comes to how we’re using resources and taking from the environment,” Ms Foster said.

“In the Snowy Mountains, a lot of the tourism businesses revolve around selling nature but our national park is under threat here. As a business, I thought it was important I did my bit to minimise my impacts and promote values that help to preserve, rather than pillage..

“The course actually helped me better service my clients as I learnt how to legitimately embed sustainability as a value in their business and then weave it into their brand story.”

She said the course also helped embed a more systematic way of thinking, one that she can implement in both her businesses and her day-to-day life.

“All the projects I did throughout the course I applied to my business and it helped me build a sustainability strategy,” Ms Foster said. “For example, I focused on ways to reduce paper waste in my business and my clients’ businesses, meaning I saved us both money.

“The course was just such a great way to look at the inefficiencies in my business and improve it.”

Ms Foster said studying the course by virtual classroom ensured she could do her course work where and when it best suited her.

TAFE NSW Diploma of Sustainable Practice teacher Dr Alison Mitchell said organisations worldwide were increasingly recognising the value of putting sustainability at the core of their business.

“The Diploma of Sustainable Practice will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to work in a sustainability role in government, private business and community sectors,” Dr Mitchell said.

Students study the course online with a project-based learning approach and strong support from teachers and fellow students, she said, adding the course had eight subjects and can be completed in one year full-time or two years part-time.

Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428