01 Mar Bringing out the Best in People: Health & Wellbeing at Work

by Jackie Grubb, Principal at City of Westminster College

Bringing out the best in people and keep on learning is my mantra. In my teaching days I taught anatomy and physiology and sport therapy for the colleges football academy, so I have always had a good understanding of how the body works and how important health and wellbeing is to our quality of life at home and at work.

I have had a privileged career that has enabled me to pick up new skills and use my experience along the way. As part of this journey I have always been committed to continuously developing my skills and knowledge. Over the years I have completed qualifications in reflexology and nutrition which has aided my health and well-being.

More recently I have studied yoga and mindfulness and practice these as part of everyday life. I go on yoga walking weekends at least twice a year.

My first senior leadership post was a director at Swindon College which was and is rated outstanding by Ofsted. Within this role I supported employers like Honda and BMW to receive the correct education programme for their apprentices and developed the college’s STEM strategy. Whilst in this role I was inspired to raise the profile of STEM based careers and encourage and empower other women to find a path into these areas.

Bringing the best out of people is important to me, whether these are students or staff. At City of Westminster we are committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff and our students. Whilst we are already implementing some great strategies for physical fitness we are also in the process of revising our mental health policy in recognition of the fact that 1 in 4 people will at some point in their life face a mental health challenge. We want to make sure we can help our employees and students to face any such challenge in the best way possible.

In today’s demanding environment, in particular the pressures placed upon FE with its funding cuts, targets and constant pressure of inspection, health and wellbeing is key to succeeding.

As Principal of City of Westminster College, I’ve utilised health and wellbeing as a resource to enable individuals, including myself to thrive and reach full potential. People do various things to relax away from their desks, for me, I prefer quiet time to reflect and exercise. Dame Carol Black’s Report in 2008, “Working for a healthier tomorrow” cites 50 UK-based case studies where health and well-being programmes have had a positive impact on intermediate and bottom-line benefits for organisations. Where many organisations have medical or Health & Safety policies, it’s critical to recognise that health and wellbeing outside of these areas is just as important and in fact may mitigate reliance on the former! At CWC, we have staff gym time, promote cycling to work, and have recently implemented breakfast network meetings to encourage staff interaction outside of a formal meeting room.

And it goes beyond staff. In education, health and wellbeing is also essential for student success, engagement and retention. There is a focus on academic achievement, which is a main key performance measurement. However, it is only as valuable as the people we cultivate within our institutions. Our focus should be as much on helping individuals become well rounded and capable, and their health and wellbeing is essential to this. The potential positive impact will help with their learning, their own professional development and their role within their community.

In today’s world good mental health is becoming more and more important as the pressures to succeed have become greater.