Research shows that the levels of engagement are directly affected by wellbeing – not just at work but in every aspect of life and at all ages and life stages. Stuart Rimmer, CEO at East Coast College (formerly Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Colleges) believes that leaders at schools and colleges have an important role to play in championing wellbeing. He says “building capacity in our young people to become more aware of their own mental health, understand interventions to improve resilience, alongside the promotion of positive mental health and the ability to facilitate practical approaches to end stigma is one of the most vital things our college does today.”
Finding a Happy Balance
East Coast College has three key ambitions for its students: firstly, that they leave with the skills and qualifications they need, secondly they leave with a secured and supported progression (university, apprenticeship or employment), thirdly that through their time at college we develop their character, resilience and overall wellbeing.
Stuart Rimmer says: “We want our young people to be higher in the happiness tables, achieve better academically (based on their potential and not where they are born), and enjoy economic prosperity in meaningful and varied lifelong work. To do this, for me, the answer is simple – let’s bring back a balance between skills and education in our colleges and let us ensure that sufficient attention and acknowledgment is given to individuals finding their “happy balance”.
East Coast College has pioneered a “Happy Balance” programme for its students and staff. It addresses the 3 key areas of wellbeing – physical, social and mental and offers a host of activities and resources in support of these areas to help staff and students achieve their “Happy Balance”.
Stuart Rimmer also spearheaded an initiative with the Association of Colleges Eastern Region including a self-assessment tool for colleges which was later presented nationally at the Association of Colleges conference.