GBCSA Academy: Meet our New Education Manager – Gretchen Collins
June 15, 2022
Gretchen Collins joined Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) in April to head up the GBCSA Academy as the new Education Manager.Gretchen has always worked in the education and training space, starting her career with SANBI at the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden where she provided environmental education lessons to primary and secondary school learners.
She then joined the WESSA community in Johannesburg as a Training Officer, facilitating Nature Conservation and Environmental Practices SETA Accredited qualifications. Gretchen is an Accredited Assessor and Moderator and in 2019 she was promoted to manage the CATHSSETA training interventions and projects for WESSA. In this role she implemented national training programmes, developed training curriculums and ensured training quality assurance for the unit.
Connect with Gretchen on Linkedin.
What is your favourite part of heading up the GBCSA Academy?
Working with a team of professionals who are efficient and people-centric. The possibilities and opportunities provided with this platform to create and develop the Academy to be a leading educational institution, committed to growing the build environment sector. Developing bespoke training courses in various disciplines of sustainable buildings. Growing the footprint of the Academy both nationally and internationally by delivering a training product with intent and impact.
Why, in your opinion, is the role of education in GBCSA’s mission of transforming the built environment for people and planet to thrive?
Knowledge is power. Education in the green space means adopting a more holistic approach to development, with the aim of creating a better world for this generation and future generations. Education provides skills to people but most importantly holds the ability to bring about a fundamental shift in how we think, act, and direct our responsibilities toward people and the planet.
What is your vision for the GBCSA Academy?
To empower the transformation of all built environment professionals through impactful training. Provide a learning experience that is engaging, human-centred and with a strong focus on practical competency. Providing delegates with a state-of-the-art digital training experience that is innovative and enjoyable. Building a strong brand and network of high-quality accredited professionals who becomes the voice for the academy and the organisation as a whole.
What advice do you have for newcomers to the green building space?
Be innovative and flexible in your approach, not only to survive but to flourish.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the course of your career that helped you grow professionally?
Continuous self-growth and professional development-through academia, networking, and collaboration, staying up to date with the latest trends in my industry and mentorship.
I believe in proper planning, I cannot function without an old-school pen and paper to-do list, being intentional with every task and getting things done, my standard is always excellence.
Where is your favourite space in South Africa and why?
Any place with beautiful mountains. If I must choose, I will say, The Graskop Panorama Route. There is nothing like a scenic route of greenery, majestic waterfalls, and fresh air to connect with yourself away from the busy city.
The best part will always be the wildlife attractions!
Who in the sustainability space do you admire the most and why?
I have huge respect and admiration for Dr Debra Roberts, the head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in the eThekwini Municipality. She is an advocate for climate protection. She connects global climate change challenges to measures and impacts in cities. She has the ability to bridge the gaps between scientific knowledge and the socio-economic risks and the challenges communities suffer on a grassroots level. Her peers describe her as warm and caring and a fantastic presenter who presents the science in a way that moves people.