Working together to improve wellbeing for work-based learning
Vocational Skills Partnership is a consortium of four private work based learning providers in Abercynon. Together they have created an online wellbeing hub where learners, employers and employees can access the latest information on improving their wellbeing.
Date of Estyn inspection/visit: March 2013
Context and background to sector-leading practice
Vocational Skills Partnership (VSP) is a consortium of four private work based learning providers in Abercynon. It was developed in order to meet the challenges set out in the ‘Transformation of Post 16 Education and Learning in Wales’ agenda.
The promotion of learners’ wellbeing is a fairly new concept for Post 16, work-based learning. In conjunction with Acorn and Babcock, VSP identified a need to be able to effectively advocate the concept to learners primarily employed and based in the workplace. Following various meetings between the three providers, it was agreed that developing a single location where learners, employers and employees could access the latest up-to-date information and advice on how to improve their wellbeing, or the wellbeing of their employees, could be extremely effective.
Rather than developing three separate strategies, the three providers worked together to create a central Wellbeing information point, which became called ‘My Wellbeing Hub’. To raise funds to develop this venture, the three partners submitted a bid to the Welsh Government’s Quality Improvement fund (QIF).
Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice
Following the successful QIF application, VSP led the development of ‘My Wellbeing Hub’. VSP arranged monthly meetings with Acorn and Babcock in order to plan, launch, monitor, review and continuously improve ‘My Wellbeing Hub’.
VSP recruited a ‘Go Wales’ graduate project worker to explore the numerous themes linked to wellbeing and undertake research into the types of resources that should be made available for the learners. As part of this process, questionnaires and interviews were conducted with learners, employers and other stakeholders to determine the demand for information on specific topics and an understanding of the most important areas to include on the Hub. We also researched what help various support agencies could provide and included a useful ‘sign-posting service’ to these. Eventually, we developed an easy-to-use website available to learners outside of VSP, Babcock and Acorn at the following address: mywellbeinghub.co.uk. We have made the site interactive through linking it to social media platforms, promoting discussion on issues around learners’ wellbeing and encouraging them to ask for specific guidance if necessary. We have ensured that the content remains current and relevant by linking RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds to the site displaying the latest news, articles, advice and guidance on Wellbeing.
Impact on provision and learners’ standards
‘My Wellbeing Hub’ has had a positive impact on learners through arming them with the knowledge and understanding they need to manage their own wellbeing.
Since the site became ‘live’ in May 2012, there have been on average 745 hits per month. As a result of using the website, tutors report that learners have become able to focus better on their learning.
Many learners have given positive feedback. Individual cases include a learner who who wanted to give up smoking being directed to ‘MyWellbeingHub’ by her Skills Assessor. The support that she gained as a result was very helpful and as a result, she has not smoked for 4 months. In addition, she has developed a better general understanding of how to keep healthy and is now able to learn more effectively as a result.