Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, Calderdale College is offering free courses in Mental Health First Aid for SMEs in Calderdale and the surrounding areas, to support employee wellbeing and improve workplace culture.

Until June 2023, new participants can enrol in a Level 2 qualification in Mental Health First Aid, while existing Mental Health First Aiders are invited to develop their leadership and mentoring skills by completing a Level 3 qualification in Mental Health Supervisory First Aid.

The courses are available to employers and their apprentices – both new and current - and will cover:

  • The role of a Mental Health First Aider
  • Practical advice and support
  • Recognition and management of mental health conditions
  • The impact of substance abuse on mental health
  • Implementing first aid action plan for mental health
  • Establishing a positive workplace health culture
  • Introduction to wellbeing and mindfulness

The new course forms part of the Collaborative Apprenticeships project and is fully funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). The project, managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC), aims to increase the quantity, improve the quality of, and provide better access to apprenticeships in Calderdale and its surrounding areas, by offering employers access to free training courses, services and support.

Calderdale College is supporting the delivery of the project in partnership with local employers and training providers.

Claire Williams, Head of Employer Engagement at Calderdale College, said: “While Mental Health might not be the first thing employers think of when they consider their training needs, these courses are a fantastic opportunity for employers to upskill both themselves and their apprentices, in turn offering greater benefit to the wider workforce. If the past couple of years have shown us anything, it’s the importance of having healthy, supportive and open workplace cultures, and having Mental Health First Aiders among your staff is a key part of this.

“We encourage all employers based in Calderdale and the surrounding areas to benefit from the free training on offer through the Collaborative Apprenticeships programme, allowing them to not only boost the equality and diversity provision that they offer, but to also empower employees to talk with confidence about mental health in the workplace and take practical steps to caring for themselves.”

Luciana Sutcliffe, Contract Co-Ordinator at Calderdale College, who recently qualified as a Mental Health First Aider, added: “After completing the Mental Health First Aider training I now have an in-depth understanding of the factors affecting mental ill health and wellbeing, both in the workplace and in my personal life.

“I have been taught how to identify if someone is experiencing a mental health issue or crisis and now have the confidence to step in, give reassurance and support using the Mental Health First Aid action plan. We now have multiple Mental Health First Aiders in the college and it is very reassuring for our staff to know that if they were to have an issue, there are people across many different departments who can offer support.”

The Level 2 course will be running on October 11th, with flexible start dates for both courses to be confirmed shortly.