The Welsh Government is making £2.18 million available to support the mental health and well-being of further education learners and staff, apprentices and trainees in Wales, Ministers have announced today.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, successive lockdowns, periods of self-isolation and restrictions on what previously was deemed as normal life are showing to have a significant effect on the mental health and wellbeing of all post-16 learners and staff.
The Welsh Government recognises organisations have and will continue to provide additional time and resource to help both learners and staff who are suffering from mental health issues.
£1.6 million is being allocated to help provide specific additional support to learners in Apprenticeships and Traineeships this financial year (2021/22).
The additional funding will support a range of mental health and support interventions, including:
- meeting salary costs for staff supporting their mental health and wellbeing;
- procuring and providing more support for delivering professional learning, in line with the Professional Standards for Further Education and Work-based Learning;
- procuring and delivering leadership development (including for governors);
- developing, implementing and evaluating wellbeing policies and strategies;
In 2021 to 2022 nearly £2 million additional funding has been allocated to support FEIs in responding to the impacts of COVID-19.
This funding is in addition to the £2 million Welsh Government already provides each year towards mental health and well-being of staff and learners in FE.
Announcing the funding for work-based learning, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing, including their mental health. For many, it will be one of the most challenging periods any of us will have faced during our lifetime. I’m very concerned about the significant impact that pandemic has had on the well-being of our young people.
“As a Welsh Government, we have made a firm commitment to ensuring there is no lost generation in Wales as a result of the pandemic. So the additional £1.6 million in funding I am announcing today will provide targeted support for learners studying under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes with a focus reducing the risk of negative outcomes, including disengagement and withdrawal, which could lead to longer-term acute mental health problems.
Announcing the funding for Further Education, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:
“Young people and staff in our colleges still need our support, as they wrestle with the impact of the pandemic. This wellbeing funding I am providing to colleges means they can continue the great work they do to help nurture the resilience of the workforce and students.
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle added:
“Today’s announcement shows we’re fully committed to ensuring we provide equal opportunities for all post-16 learners to access the well-being support they require during this challenging period. It’s important that people get the support they need and the funding announced today will provide a range of services.