Outstanding Charity Sponsor, Gower College, takes holistic approach to COVID-19 challenges
It’s so great for us to hear that our Outstanding Charity Sponsor, Gower College Swansea, has been demonstrating a hugely innovative and holistic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ever since coronavirus struck South Wales, Gower College has brought its teams together and thought deeply about the resources it can offer. As a result, it has been making a difference to the lives of its employees and students, as well as reaching out to support vital keyworkers and the local communities they serve.
Gower College Swansea has worked across all departments to make essential supplies available for local charities, community groups, and hospitals. From donations of personal protective equipment, to unused food, the College has worked quickly and effectively to get supplies to people who need them. To help distribute its support, the college has built strong relationships with local hospitals in and around Swansea, and has worked with St Stephen’s Church in Port Tennant, and the LifePoint Church close to the city centre.
The college has also worked tenaciously to ensure that education programmes have remained available to all, during the crisis. Building on its expertise in delivering quality face-to-face and online learning experiences for students, Gower College Swansea has adapted teaching programmes to offer free training to help those on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. As well as continuing to support the progress of learners and apprentices already enrolled on its courses, the College has been working closely with the Swansea Bay University Health Board to help nurses and other frontline staff manage local needs.
Ruth Gates, Learning & Development Project Manager at Swansea Bay UHB, said:
“The quick response from a wide range of staff and tutors has enabled us to increase the delivery of manual handling programmes needed for new staff and upskilling existing staff to fulfil new roles; also, the College’s Health and Social Care staff are working closely with our Nurse Education Team to help facilitate the large numbers of clinical induction training programmes needed and are actively involved in the roll out of the new digital Patient Care Assistant Induction in partnership with Health Education Improvement Wales.”
As well as coordinating quick responses to immediate local needs, the College has continued in its commitment to building local capacity for the longer-term. Working with a range of local partners, the College leads on the Better Jobs, Better Futures programme, supporting people to find and secure employment.
Despite the testing economic circumstances, Gower College Swansea continues to successfully match people with jobs, some of which are directly involved in local responses to the pandemic. Ruth Gates described how the partnership between the College and the Swansea Bay University Health Board helps: “with the recruitment of new staff into different roles needed to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Many of their clients have been referred and been successful in gaining temporary posts with us” she added.
As a member of BITC, Gower College Swansea has demonstrated its responsible business credentials not only in its support for local people and communities, but also in the way it supports its employees encouraging them to look after their wellbeing
During the lockdown, the College has brought staff together (virtually, and adhering to social distancing) to clap for carers and key workers, and reflect on the inspiring efforts of people who are saving lives in the local area. The College is also committed to supporting staff who wish to volunteer.
It has also helped employees adjust to the challenges of remote working. Gower College Swansea’s HR & Wellbeing Team has developed a suite of support including webinars, telephone counselling, a range of fitness activities including live online yoga and HIT sessions and a weekly fun quiz –all of which are provided free of charge. These have been hugely popular, as employees across the organisation have been keenly improving their physical, mental, and emotional flexibility and resilience.