From education to employment

Charity will provide 24-hour support and information for lecturers

A new national charity designed specifically for college and university staff will be launched today with the support of one of the UK’s biggest unions.

The University and College Union (UCU) will partner the Teacher Support Network in the formation of the new College and University Support Network (CUSN). According to a statement released earlier this week, CUSN will offer “a range of free services including round-the-clock telephone counselling, a website of factsheets, online coaching, money advice and needs-based grants and loans”.

Patrick Nash, Chief Executive of CUSN, said: “CUSN’s innovative partnership with UCU means the charity can really meet the needs of the FE/HE workforce in tackling issues such as stress, workload and difficult relationships”.

He added: “Our professionally-accredited counsellors and coaches work with individuals to devise practical solutions to their concerns. In many cases, particularly legal and pay and conditions issues, individuals are encouraged to seek further support from their union”.

Research conducted by the Teacher Support Network between June and September involved 159 respondents, of which 71% citied bureaucracy as the main reason for a “negative impact on wellbeing”. 66% said an excessive workload was the second reason, while 3rd on the list was job insecurity (45%); fourth was difficult relationships with managers (38%) and fifth (28%) cited “problems with students”.

UCU joint general secretaries, Paul Mackney and Sally Hunt, said: “The personalised support offered through CUSN helps people think through how to address a problem and is particularly useful when people are stressed out”.

“UCU can help by providing specialised employment advice, and representation if need be, and by taking up the root causes of many problems, such as heavy workloads, inadequate support or discrimination”.

“UCU hopes that the partnership will strengthen our mutual efforts for high quality working environments and fulfilling working lives”, they added.

Vijay Pattni.

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