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[Member News] UKSA rolls out Mental Health First Aid training to employees on its Cowes campus

Published on: 22 July 2021

UKSA, maritime and education charity, mental health wellbeing

As part of its focus on student wellbeing, maritime and education charity UKSA (United Kingdom Sailing Academy), not only has a dedicated Welfare Officer, but is rolling out a new Mental Health First Aid training programme for its employees.

UKSA already offers Safeguarding Training to all its employees. These training programmes aim to equip them all with the skills they need to ensure students have the right support, no matter where they are on site. 

As many as 80% of UKSA students are under 25 — a demographic that has experienced an all-time high in anxiety and fear over employment, according to a recent study by YouGov. In turn, wellbeing is a priority at UKSA, regardless of age and ability.

So far, eight team members have completed their Mental Health First Aid Training, and an additional eight employees are booked in over the coming months. Training is offered voluntarily, and led by Kim Fry, the charity’s Welfare Officer.

Kim said: “As a part of UKSA’s Safeguarding team, I am one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads, as well as delivering Safeguarding Training to all staff, Mental Health First Aid Training and the UKSA’s Mental Health Awareness and Wellbeing Training for Seafarers module.”

She added: “I support students of all ages on a variety of professional, educational and leisure-based courses. My role is to be a pastoral base for students, supporting emotional wellbeing during their training. Conversations are private and confidential, and students can self-refer at any time during their UKSA journey.”

Prior to joining UKSA, Kim worked as a qualified social worker and gained extensive experience working with children, young people, families and adults. She is also in the process of training to be a qualified Mental Health First Aid England Instructor. The charity is the first of its kind to employ a dedicated Welfare Officer.

With the addition of Safeguarding Training for employees, the charity hopes to see all students provided with the support they need in real-time, whether they are in their dorm, or out on the water. 
Commenting on the emotional and pastoral support provided by UKSA, Kim said: “The support I offer is tailored to the individual, which is really important. I work with both students and employees and am always on hand to provide advice, to signpost and help build confidence, regardless of the situation.”

Visit the UKSA website to find out more.