Achieving Excellence

We are extremely proud to announce that Bridgend College has been awarded Gold in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards 2019/20, as a recognition for our commitment to workplace wellbeing.

Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index is a benchmark of best policy and practice, celebrating the good work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health, and providing key recommendations on the specific areas where there is room to improve. 

The index allows us to measure how people feel about their own mental health and wellbeing and how they view the support they receive from us as their employer. Perhaps most importantly, the index allows us to see if our actions are making a difference.

We were awarded a Bronze Award in 2017/18, which recognised that we had started our journey to better mental health by creating initiatives that promote positive mental health for staff. At that time we had a 24/7 employee assistance programme and activities we invited people to take part in, from Zumba classes to Mindfulness. We had also signed up to the Time to Change Wales Pledge.

This was a good start but feedback from the Index showed us that we needed to take it to the next level to really help people to feel supported and be the best that they could be.

We were delighted therefore to see an improvement in our Index score in 2018/19 after making some changes, achieving a Silver award as a result, and showing that we had really stepped up our focus on wellbeing in the workplace.

The College holds five professional development days each year, which are themed across various strands of its strategic plan. On these days, staff come together to learn, share, and reflect on practice. This encourages new employee connections to form and supports a more holistic understanding of how all staff support the common vision of supporting employees and students to be all that they can be. This multifaceted approach includes digital skills development, unlimited access to e-learning platforms, and coaching and mentoring.

In 2020, Bridgend College was placed 24th in the Sunday Times Best Companies List in the Top 100 Best Not For Profit Organisations to Work for – the highest-ranked educational establishment in the category listing. This is a positive jump from 28th position in 2017, proving that we at Bridgend College have made significant improvements to workplace engagement and that we really are striving to be all that we can be. 

Simon Pirotte, Principal and CEO of Bridgend College said:

“We are so proud to receive Gold status in the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index. But it’s not just about the award. This is the culmination of a fantastic effort from all staff across the organisation to promote and develop positive mental health in the workplace. By working together and caring about each other, we can create a person centred culture where our collective effort makes this a special place to work.”

The College was one of 103 organisations to take part in Mind’s second annual Workplace Wellbeing Index this year. The event, due to take place at The Ham Yard Hotel in Central London and hosted by TV Personality and Mind Ambassador, Theo Pathitis, is being rescheduled due to current events relating to COVID-19.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: 

“Every employer depends on having a healthy and productive workforce – valued and supported employees are far more likely to deliver the best outcomes for your organisation. That’s why we’re delighted to recognise and celebrate employers making mental health a priority for their organisation through our Workplace Wellbeing Awards.” 

Every employer depends on having healthy and productive employees – valued and supported staff are far more likely to perform better and achieve peak performance. Mental health problems are common among employees. Mind surveyed more than 44,000 employees across the 106 employers participating in the Awards and found that 7 in 10 had experienced a mental health problem in their lives, with over one in two (53%) affected by poor mental health in their current workplace. 

Bridgend College’s involvement in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index means we are contributing towards cutting edge research on workplace wellbeing. We are on a journey towards a better way of working where supporting the mental health of our staff is part of everyday business. The things we do to achieve change are shaped by listening to staff and their needs and will be beneficial to our staff, students, and the communities we serve. To make sure we are always going in the right direction, we will continue to measure our impact using the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index.

To help us improve on our Bronze award and move to the next level of workplace wellbeing, we made some changes:

  • We delivered a full day wellbeing conference for all staff and local partners to give them the skills and knowledge to make a more positive impact on their own health and wellbeing, both mental and physical.
  • As part of our restructure we made sure staff have more time with managers who are looking to decrease stress for their employees.
  • We designed and implemented a ‘Person Centred Leadership Programme’, which gives leaders the skills to create a better environment, based on understanding what really matters to staff
  • Several managers and wider groups of staff have had Mental Health First Aid training 
  • We recruited a Wellbeing Advisor who works with individuals and managers to support people to stay well in work and supports people back to work, with plans to meet individual needs. This has helped us to reduce absence.
  • Our intention and commitment to improving the wellbeing of staff and students is continually supported by our Principal & CEO, Simon Pirotte