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Mental Health Awareness - Supporting Learners

May 12, 2021
4 minute read

The last year has taught us all how important it is to focus on our own and others well being and mental health. Lockdown has shown us how the simple things in life can't be taken for granted.
At the start of lockdown I was meant to be living in New York for 15 months, my soon to be business partner was planning her daughter’s wedding and then it all changed!

We were both freelance and working for one training provider, who were paper based; we became very frustrated with the lack of support and contact throughout the first lockdown and the lack of support that we could offer our learners. We couldn't meet in person, so we started meeting virtually, learners had to email work and we had to adapt to a new way of teaching.

We became increasingly frustrated and decided to turn a negative into a positive. We started to talk about our own training centre. A few more glasses of wine and lots of homemade cake later, we took the plunge and here we are now, very proud of ourselves and our new “baby”!

In our leadership challenge this week, we mentioned the importance of having a business coach, someone who understands the sector that you can call on for advice and support.

As a training provider, we really try to support our learners. We are mindful that our assessors don’t have a huge caseload of learners, so we can offer that important support. We have had to adapt the way we teach and meet our learners' needs. Whether it was rearranging lessons so that a student could let her children access her laptop as they had an online lesson, or another learner who was on furlough and wanted more work and more lessons so that she could make best use of her time at home.We have adapted; during the pandemic we supported our learners going through illness or bereavement. All too often our online lessons have included a good catch up and talk about personal situations but we wouldn't change it!
From the initial contact with a new inquiry, we try to offer support and guidance to steer people to the correct course and correct level. We do not want to put a learner on a more expensive course if we know that they will struggle and not complete it. We would much rather nurture our learners' learning journey and build up their confidence to progress at their own pace and ability.

It has been a confusing time for learners, assessors and training centres; not being allowed in placement and not being able to observe our learners, but we have adapted and changed to support everyone involved in the assessment process.

Qualifications now have units that teach us how important a child's mental health is, and how we, as professionals in the sector, can support children. There are so many excellent websites, apps and charities that workers can access for information and support for themselves, children and families that they work with.
Hopefully now we are through the worst and there is light at the end of the tunnel. This last year has taught us how resilient we are. Who knew that a walk for an hour could help you reset or a zoom G & T is good for your soul!
Please don't struggle, ask, speak to someone! Thinking provides a range of resources to support your mental health, including free NHS-approved wellbeing apps, expert advice and podcasts. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or sad, you might find the following links useful.If you need urgent mental health support, find out how to get in touch with your local NHS 24/7 helpline and other support organisations.Lisa Tray

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