Middlesbrough College’s Student Services Department have scooped the top award at the prestigious National Association for Managers of Student Services (NAMSS) Award Ceremony.
In the most coveted award of the evening, Middlesbrough College won first prize for its Student Services Wellbeing Team.
Sponsored by eSafe, the Overall Student Services Team Award represents the department who have made a positive impact on the student experience beyond the usual expectations.
The judging panel commended the team’s overall ethos and approach of putting students first, noting an increase in the College’s mental health provision.
The Wellbeing Team are based in the new Student Wellbeing Centre. This zone was created in conjunction with students and offers holistic support from specialist staff and those from partner organisations.
Since the start of the academic year, the team have revolutionised the way they support students with mental health, adapting the enrolment process to introduce an enhanced mental health declaration. This, coupled with a new online referral system for students, means that they are more likely to seek support earlier on.
The Wellbeing Team consists of a Counselling and Wellbeing Coordinator, Student Experience Coordinator and four Safeguarding and Welfare Officers.
Following a successful bid to secure £160,000 from Sport England, the LIVEWELL, LEARNWELL Team are also a fixture of the department, focusing on inactive students with mental health as a primary target group. This link between physical activity as a means to support mental health means students are offered a tailored programme of physical activity.
Mike Bulmer, Student Services Manager commented: “Our fantastic team provides excellent support for all students, whatever their needs.
“The team have brought mental health support to the forefront of the College. This has had a huge impact on our tutors understanding of how to support students with mental health and where and when to refer, if appropriate.
“This has led to a 75% increase in the number of student referrals against last year, with an overall 99.2% retention rate for students in counselling, compared to 80% the previous year.”
The award comes alongside a cash prize of £1,500 which will be used to further invest in the services and resources available to students.
This comes following a fantastic year for the student services department, who have recently been re-accredited by the matrix quality standard for the high quality careers service available, as well as the BIG Award for their comprehensive bullying intervention strategy.