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Mental Health Awareness Week

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) leadership mental health and wellbeing programme aims to create space for leaders to reflect on and share their journey towards self-awareness and positive mental health, through a trauma-informed approach. Through listening, learning and leading by example, a culture shift can be embedded, starting from the top.

In early 2023 as part of this project, we delivered webinars, podcasts, and six guides. These resources aim to support FE senior leaders who can affect change in their organisation, and for middle to senior managers with an interest in mental health and wellbeing. If you are committed to affecting change that creates humanistic cultures within your organisation, this programme is for you. Below are links to all the resources that are currently available as part of the programme.

If you have any questions about the programme please contact This programme is delivered by Association of Colleges, commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation on behalf of the Department for Education.

Webinar recordings

Each webinar was Chaired by Stuart Rimmer, Chief Executive, East Coast College and featured leaders from FE talking about how they’ve embedded a culture change around mental health and wellbeing.

Webinar 1 : leader’s mental health 11/01/23


  • Jo Maher, Chief Executive and Principal, Loughborough College
  • Lynette Leith, Vice Principal, Hull College
  • Dr Lou Mycroft – The radical rest campaign
  • Trevor Nobel – Director of STEM, London South East Colleges.

Webinar link

Webinar 2: staff mental health and wellbeing 30/01/23


  • SallyAnn Coleman, Commercial Director, Apprentify
  • Debra French, People Services Project Manager and Debbie Hinbest, Director of People & Development Services, Nottingham College
  • Jen Hart, Programmes Manager, Education Support.

Webinar link (Passcode: @2fL*k1N)

Webinar 3: learner mental health and wellbeing 02/03/23


  • Steve Morris, Commercial Director, Learning Curve Group
  • Mark Dale, Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Portland College
  • Simon Pirotte, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Bridgend College.

Webinar link


Learning from others and exploring new ways of working requires authentic discussion, vulnerability, and trust to talk openly. Through discursive interviews, this podcast series showcases real stories to show how FE leaders have approached “reflection and resolution” within their own individual practice and wider organisational approaches, specifically addressing how to avoid burnout and be equipped to deal with stress.

Polly Harrow, Assistant Principal Student Experience, Kirklees College and Chair of Executive Board, National Association for the Managers of Student Services (NAMSS) interviews a series of guests about the journey they’ve been on to create culture change within their organisation around mental health and wellbeing.

Episode 1

In this episode Polly Harrow talks to Palvinder Singh, Principal and Chief Executive of Kirklees College about how he drives the culture change towards becoming a restorative, anti-racist, trauma informed organisation.

Episode 2

In this episode Polly Harrow talks to Sir Paul Phillips, Principal and Chief Executive and Dr Georgie Forde, Strategic Lead – Healthcare and Nursing at Weston college about their experience and learning from their trauma-informed approach to mental health support. They focus on their approach to supporting staff mental health and wellbeing the impact of this on changing the culture of the organisation.

Episode 3

In this episode Polly Harrow talks to staff from Chichester College Group, including a former learner that has recently finished studying at the college. They discuss their trauma-informed approach to supporting learners in their mental health and wellbeing across the group and how they’ve implemented this to ensure it’s a whole organisation approach.

Episode 4

In this episode Polly Harrow talks to Alex Miles, Managing Director at Yorkshire Learning Providers about the challenges and ways of supporting apprentices with their mental health and wellbeing. *Content warning, this episode references difficult topics including self-harm and suicide.

Episode 5

In this episode Polly Harrow talks to Mike Driscoll, Chief Operations Officer at Southampton Engineering Training Association (SETA). They discuss SETA's approach to supporting their apprentices with mental health and wellbeing and the challenges of supporting all learners in a male dominated environment and sector. Content warning: in this episode they discuss supporting learners with self-harm and suicide.

Please find the transcripts to the podcasts below:

Mental Health and Well-Being Guides

Collectively, these guides aim to provide a foundation for FE managers and leaders to enhance organisational systems and support structures to help staff develop the skills required to cope with the demands of the job. They provide a deeper understanding of psychologically safe environments alongside evidence-informed initiatives and insights from those working in the FE sector. They also look at why your mental wellbeing needs to be a priority and how cultural change has to start from the top.

Helping Staff Balance Work and Life

FE leaders and managers we offer advice on how to set the foundations for a workplace that supports a balance between work and life, including practical tips on maintaining and promoting healthy working practices and boundaries.

Looking After Yourself and Supporting Colleagues while Supporting Learners – Secondary Trauma

Adequately prepare FE staff for any disclosures and know what to do when supporting their own needs when it comes to secondary trauma.

Psychological Safety in Further Education Settings

Foundation for FE managers and leaders to enhance organisational systems and support structures to help staff develop the skills required to cope with the demands of the job more effectively.

Talking to Colleagues about their Mental Health

Explore why it’s important for Further Education staff to feel they can ask for help whenever they require it, how to approach conversations around mental health with colleagues and where to get further support when they need it.

Burnout – Prevention and spotting the signs in FE settings

Unpack ways to prevent burnout in Further Education settings before it takes hold. We also share how to spot the signs and what to do if you, or others, need support.

Building Collegiate Relationships

How building strong relationships requires trust, respect, and self-awareness, and how this in turn can make your role more enjoyable and allow you to be in the best possible place mentally and emotionally to support learners and colleagues alike.