Lauren Bennett, Senior Researcher, Learning and Work Institute

The prevalence of mental health issues amongst young people is a significant and ongoing issue. 75 per cent of mental illnesses begin before a child reaches their 18th birthday.

Experiencing a mental health problem is likely to be upsetting. Mental health issues can impact on someone’s physical health as well as their relationships and work or education. Individuals affected report being unable to think clearly and feeling increasingly distressed and isolated

Mental health issues also have a negative impact on an organisation’s productivity and staff turnover. Mixed anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause one fifth of lost days from work in Britain and replacing staff who leave their roles due to a mental health condition is estimated to cost the UK economy £3.1 billion each year.

Apprentices face the challenge of having to combine working and studying. We know that working has many benefits for someone experiencing mental health issues. Effective mental health support can help learners to cope with this pressure and succeed. As opportunities increase it is important that they are accessible to those with mental health needs. If not, employers will miss out on potentially valuable employees

However, providing sufficient and high-quality support to apprentices is challenging for several reasons.

  1. There is significantly less funding per student for 16-19-year olds, compared to schools and universities. As David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges recently highlighted, this means that colleges are struggling to find the resource to effectively address mental health challenges.
  2. The scale and type of mental health needs experienced by apprentices is largely unknown. This is because declaration of mental health needs is low, making it more difficult to provide timely and suitable support. Although mental health is now more widely discussed, a greater cultural shift is needed to remove the stigma associated with conditions such as depression. Apprentices need to feel confident to share information with their employer and training provider.
  3. There is a lack of awareness of the available support and how to access this. For example, our research has found that limited awareness of the DWP Supporting Apprentices service was the main barrier to the service being used. Subject to an Access to Work decision, this service offers free support to apprentices (who have been signed off or who remain in the workplace) from specialist advisers. Service-users can access emotional and wellbeing support for up to six months, advice on workplace adjustments and a support plan.

However, all is not lost. Our research has also identified numerous ways in which support for apprentices with mental health conditions can be improved.

Here are seven things you could try, starting with encouraging apprentices to be open about their mental health:

1. Be positive about mental health

Having positive statement about accepting mental health on application forms and marketing materials can only be beneficial. Becoming a Mindful Employer is also a way to let staff and potential applicants know that your organisation is positive about mental health. If potential and current apprentices can discuss wellbeing during the recruitment and induction phase, for example by talking about their confidence and worries, concerns are more likely to become apparent.

2. Work trials and flexibility

Organisations should also consider non-traditional recruitment approaches. Work trials, rather than formal interviews may be less intimidating for someone experiencing mental health issues. Reasonable adjustments, such as offering more flexible working patterns, can also help someone have a positive experience of their apprenticeship.

3. Raise awareness of existing support and resources 

Alongside this, the range of existing support and resources also need to be better advertised and shared amongst employers, providers and apprentices themselves. As well as the Supporting Apprentices service, Mental Health First Aid courses are available for organisations and individuals, and websites such as Mental Health in Further Education and the ETF Foundation Online include useful guidance and learning opportunities.

4. Introduce these support services during induction

Such information should be advertised as widely as possible through social media, local training networks, mental health charities and industry newsletters. Discussing the Supporting Apprentices service during the induction process for new apprentices would also help staff and learners become aware of this support option.

5. Utilise the employer toolkit

Learning and Work has also developed the Employer Toolkit website to provide information and guidance for employers to support them to ensure that their apprenticeship offer is accessible. This includes case studies of good practice in supporting apprentices with mental health conditions.

6. Early intervention

If staff are aware of the support options and how to access them, issues are more likely to be addressed before reaching crisis point. Creating case studies of apprentices with mental health conditions succeeding could also help to raise aspirations.

7. Take responsibility

Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing should be everyone’s responsibility, not just one member of staff’s.

Apprenticeship providers should take a whole organisational approach to supporting to apprentices with mental health needs.

Apprenticeships provide a valuable opportunity for young people to develop their skills and take the first steps in their career. If we want young people to enter, complete and progress from apprenticeships we need to ensure that they are adequately supported so that they look back at their experience as an enjoyable and fulfilling one.

Lauren Bennett, Senior Researcher, Learning and Work Institute

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 3 hours 20 minutes ago

We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open: We will ensure that schools, colleges and univers… https://t.co/3pcnapPV5k
View Original Tweet

FE News has published a new article: Covid-19 changing employee motivations 9 hours 41 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page