Education & Jobs

Education for health at Queen’s University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland, with an annual turnover of some £300m, over 23,000 students and 3,700 staff.

Background

It plays a unique leadership role in Northern Ireland. It is a magnet for inward investment and is a global player in areas ranging from cancer studies to sustainability, pharmaceuticals to creative writing.

What Queen’s University Belfast did

Following a review of its internal policy and processes, QUB decided to make its health and wellbeing initiatives more streamlined and strategic. The new Vice Chancellor developed a new Vision and staff engagement was recognised as key to its delivery. A five-step action plan was devised and endorsed by the senior management team which involved: a new wellbeing brand and website, implementation of a wellbeing week, awareness campaigns, tailored stress management training and development of an internal staff mediation service.

The plan is now fully integrated into the daily operations of the University and the impacts are found across many areas of the university. Queen’s takes a holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing and an annual health and wellbeing schedule is drafted at the start of the year.

The University aligns its health promotion events to national and international health promotion campaigns, as well as University sickness absence trends. Key issues in terms of absence trends include high instances of stress and mental health related illness and musculoskeletal problems. As such, the University implemented a range of activities to help combat those issues e.g. managing stress training, improving personal resilience training, health checks, parenting workshops, weight loss programmes and yoga courses to name a few.

Impacts and outcomes

  • 300 free health checks provided for employees
  • 400 participants for classes such as yoga and pilates
  • 1,850 employees participated in 40 wellbeing events
  • 10% reduction in stress related absence
  • 60 employees have signed up for staff choir
  • To find out more, email l.lynch@qub.ac.uk