UK’s Further Education Learners To Receive Employability-boosting Mental Fitness Training Post-pandemic- Mental fitness platform Fika (@TheFikaApp) and educational service provider @NCFE join forces to equip the future workforce with essential career skills
Mental fitness platform Fika and leading educational service provider NCFE have joined forces to bring essential career-boosting mental skills development to further education learners nationwide in 2021.
The partnership aims to equip learners to take on the challenges of the future labour market, arming them with the resilience skills they will need to prosper in Industry 4.0, as well as playing their part in Britain’s economic recovery post-pandemic.
Research undertaken by NCFE and FIKA found that 76% of Brits are concerned about how they will cope mentally in the year ahead, following an extended period of isolation, uncertainty, and disruption.
The findings make it clear that fundamental change is required within schools and colleges to protect and support younger generations, and to address the nation’s worsening mental health, with nearly half of Britons (45%) confirming the pandemic has significantly affected them in this way. The research also found that:
81% of 16-24-year-olds are concerned about how they will cope mentally in the year ahead
80% of people believe teaching confidence in schools and colleges is as important as teaching Maths and English 79% believe that mental education should be taught in similar way to physical education. The two organisations have struck a deal which will see Fika’s NCFE-endorsed ‘7 Skills of Mental Fitness’ Curriculum rolled out across at least 85 of the UK’s 224 further education colleges by June 2021, with more set to follow over the second half of the year.
Learners will access remotely delivered courses in positivity, confidence, connection, focus, motivation, stress management and meaning via Fika’s mental fitness platform – the first of its kind in the UK. These courses, created by expert performance psychologists, will be embedded into the learner experience and curriculum at the colleges involved, and learners will earn CV-enhancing certificates on completion of each of the seven Fika courses.
NCFE, a leading education charity and awarding organisation, will finance the training, in a bid to safeguard learners’ futures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The training (which can be completed in just 5 minutes per day) will be delivered through Fika’s app-and-web-based platform, with various elements including a daily ‘Mental Fitness Thought for the Day’ video embedded into colleges’ own virtual learning environments.
The deal marks NCFE out as the first awarding organisation to take an education-led approach to mental fitness.
The partnership comes as the government takes the decision to reprioritise and reinvest in further education, with minister for apprenticeship and skills Gillian Keegan outlining how “the FE sector will play a pivotal role in our economic recovery post-COVID-19, ensuring more people can gain the skills they need to get ahead.”
Nick Bennett, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Fika, said: “For too long, there has been a gap in our education system where mental fitness skills development and mental education should have been. Our young people receive world-class academic, technical, and physical education – and yet it is skills like confidence, motivation, positivity and stress management which make or break careers.
“Fika’s ambition is to fill this gap, providing learners of all ages with easily accessible, evidence-based training in the 7 Skills of Mental Fitness – equipping them for individual success, but also to play their part in Britain’s economic recovery post-COVID-19.”
Dawn Baker, Director of Innovation and Investments at NCFE, said: “This partnership represents an inflection point in education culture. Finally, we are moving away from classing mental health as something which involves seeking ‘help’ for ‘problems’ and beginning to understand it as a curricular issue which requires education, skills development and training.
“Fika’s NCFE-endorsed curriculum and certificates help reinforce that message with colleges, learners and the sector. The 7 skills and the positive outcomes associated with them create tangible educational and professional currency around mental fitness.
“We’re delighted to join forces with Fika and to invite colleges up and down the country to enroll and benefit from these courses.”
Mental Health expert and activist, Natasha Devon MBE, said: “I’ve dedicated my career to helping people understand that mental health is universally relevant. Statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue each year, but 4 in 4 of us has a brain, which means we all have a status of mental health in just the same way as we each have a level of physical fitness.
“Unfortunately, the tendency is to not think about our mental health until it goes wrong. However, just as we can learn habits which help to keep our bodies healthy, there are equivalent tools for the mind. Learning these as early as possible prepares young people for life’s inevitable challenges, giving them important knowledge about themselves as well as skills to improve their wellbeing.
“The Fika app covers seven crucial aspects of mental fitness and breaks them down into easy-to-follow modules. And, with the pandemic meaning more people than ever are struggling with stress and anxiety, it’s never been more needed.”
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