New project supports transition of university graduates and new recruits’ to the workplace

HR manager interviewing female candidate applicant who recruit job in the office.

It’s been apparent for many years that there are significant gaps in the provision of mental health and wellbeing support for university graduates, and new recruits entering the workplace. It is clear that support systems within universities and workplaces are not replicated in transition periods, which can draw out vulnerabilities that the individual is already experiencing.

We therefore created the Transition Project, and focused Phase 1 on supporting university graduates in their transition into the workplace, and are focusing Phase 2 on new recruits transition into the workplace. The support provides individuals with 5-7 Specialist Transition Mentoring sessions, as well as implementing the innovative Mental Health and Wellbeing Passport (MHWP).

Phase 1 – University to Workplace Transition (UWT) & Mental Health and Wellbeing Passport (MHWP) Project

Phase 1 of our Transition Project named the UWT & MHWP officially launched in July 2023 and gained support from our partners Student Minds, Good Thinking, THRIVE LDN, UMHAN and the UK government’s TASO arm (supporting evaluation), and funding from Imperial College London, London Metropolitan, University of Manchester, Queen Mary University College and King’s College London.

Phase 2 – Recruitment to Workplace Transition (RWT) & Mental Health and Wellbeing Passport (MHWP) Project

We are approaching a handful of Employers to pilot this project that we know have mental health, wellbeing and neurodiversity at the top of their agenda and would be interested in trailblazing the project to support new recruits transitioning into the workplace. The project will be starting in February/March 2024.

We are also approaching specialist organisations that would be able to provide valuable insight, expertise and support to this project. We are meeting with UniConnect Partnerships, UCAS, Make a Difference, Mad World and The Watercooler Event to explore partnership opportunities. This project aims to support new recruits’ mental health, wellbeing and neurodiversity needs when moving into the workplace, while ensuring new recruits can communicate their needs to their employer from the outset, encouraging a positive supportive experience from the word go.

How does the RWT & MHWP Project support the Employers’ agenda?

  •  Preventative Approach – investing in employee mental health, neurodiversity and wellbeing ensures that employees have a space to talk through thoughts and feelings and put practical strategies in place, rather than a reactive approach a few weeks or months into work
  • Signposting to the right support – ensuring the employee has access to the right support internally and externally
  • Access for all employees – ensures that all employee have access to support, regardless of a mental health or neurodiversity diagnosis, capturing vulnerable employees, including employees that wouldn’t usually engage with workplace support
  • Feedback to employer – ensures that employers know which employees need more support, linking with positive changes that enhance employee performance
  • Psychologically safe and inclusive culture – an investment in employee wellbeing before they start work promotes a positive workplace culture ‘this is what we do here – it’s part of who we are’
  • Increase in staff retention – deduction in presenteeism, positively impacting staff absence and staff retention – by ensuring employees are feeling positive about their role
  • Impact – increase in employee resilience, confidence and feeling valued, increasing a sense of achievement and purpose at work. Efficiency and productivity – increased wellbeing increases motivation and sense of self-worth

Next steps: Supporting Organisation Partners

As you can see, Phase 1 has been supported by organisations and universities who are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of new graduates. In Phase 2, we feel it’s equally important that the RWT & MHWP Project is supported by organisations and workplaces who are committed to supporting employee mental health and wellbeing, and believe that an early intervention/prevention and proactive model of support provides the best outcomes, not only to employee mental health and wellbeing but to the whole workplace. If your organisation or workplace is interested in finding out more information, please contact us at [email protected]

About the author:

Anna Matthews is the CEO & Founder of UMO, which she set up whilst training as a therapist, working as a specialist mental health mentor and prior to being an academic. Her aim has always been to develop a service that not only met the needs of our clients but was safe, of high quality and delivered by very well qualified and experienced mental health practitioners with utmost professionalism. Anna is a Government advisor, Chair of UMHAN (since 2019) and advisor to both the Mental Health Advisory Group of Universities UK and Student Minds. She also sits on the board for the Mental Health and Wellbeing in Higher Education group’

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