August 23, 2019 @ 9:20 by Steven Hugill
A college has achieved double success in a national awards scheme celebrating the positive business impact of outstanding skills development programmes.
Gateshead College picked up two accolades at the Princess Royal Training Awards.
The honours covered the institution’s commitment to tackling and developing awareness of mental health, and its coaching and people development programme.
Its mental health programme was developed to encourage employees to manage their mental health and support colleagues and students.
Its workforce has undertaken mental health awareness training, supported by qualified practitioners, and has benefited from activities introduced via the college’s Fit for Life scheme, which include counselling services and mindfulness and resilience training.
The college was also the first further education provider in the region to back the national Time to Change campaign, which encourages people to speak out about mental health issues.
Bosses say that as a result of the programme, mental health-related staff absence rates are now significantly lower than the national average, with an increased willingness from employees to talk about mental health challenges.
The college also invested in a coaching methodology to develop staff and progress its culture of continuous improvement and excellence.
As part of the initiative, specialised coaching training was given to 35 members of staff, who then worked with others to support their development.
This significant development supported the performance improvement that ultimately led to Gateshead College being ranked the number one college in the country for student achievements in 2017-18, with overall achievement rates climbing to 96.2 per cent, which was ten per cent above the national average.
Judith Doyle CBE, principal and chief executive, pictured left, said: “These two awards are fantastic recognition and perfectly highlight the importance as an organisation that we place on developing the skills and well-being of our people.
“Looking after the health and well-being of our valued employees sits at the heart of everything we do, and the results and rewards speak for themselves.
“We’re the top-performing college in the country, which demonstrates our staff and our learners have benefited from the culture of continuous improvement we’ve put in place here.”
Judith added two of the college’s clients, manufacturing firm Essity and transport operator Go North East, were also among the 48 organisations to be recognised as a result of programmes ran in partnership with the institution.
Essity was recognised for its award-winning apprenticeship programme, which has helped it successfully tackle a long-term skills shortage. Go North East was recognised for its ground-breaking Bus Driver Routeway employment programme, which equips unemployed people with the skills and confidence to get back into work.
All winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony at St James’ Palace in October.
“It’s fantastic that the awards are recognising the exceptional North East employers who are realising the potential of investing in their people and showcasing our businesses on the national stage,” added Judith.
“I’d like to offer my congratulations to Essity and Go North East.”