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Mental Health Awareness Week and Learning at Work Week fell at the same time this year. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust took the opportunity to focus on Learning for Life for a unique campaign for staff and volunteers. Angie Macknight, L&D Manager, shares the results and the lessons she learned

Please tell us about Learning for Life

We combined Learning at Work Week (LAWW) with Mental Health Awareness Week to create the Learning for Life campaign. This made the link between the vital importance of learning for your wellbeing and mental health.  And it also provided an opportunity to talk about mental health and illness.

This was our second year taking part in LAWW.  The aim was twofold: we wanted to encourage greater engagement with learning activities as well as start more conversations about mental health whilst raising awareness of the support on offer.

We organised a programme of activities over two weeks which included learning lunches and brunches. We offered ‘good mood food’ to staff at our HQ, put posts on our intranet, and arranged informal activities such as book clubs and tapped into webinars and content from LAWW providers.

Staff and volunteers really got on board with the range of activities.  For example, we had an attendance of 203 people across the eight learning lunches.   

Were there any particular challenges that you had to overcome?

I work part time and we really needed more involvement and help, so we asked staff and volunteers to join a planning and delivery group.

That really made the difference to the content and quality of the campaign.  Many hands make light work!

What were the results?

We used existing analytics to review how many people accessed posts on our intranet (our Learning and Development and Mental Health All Stars groups) as well as recordings of learning lunches and brunches, so we knew how many people had attended, both at HQ and online.

This showed a sizeable increase compared with previous months, which we’re intending to sustain with a related communications plan. Our intranet posts, for example, reached 706 reads for our Mental Health All Stars in May – up from 250 in April. Our ‘likes’ also doubled in that month. And Learning for Life activities also compared well with other topics that we’ve monitored throughout the year.

Overall it was definitely worthwhile. Our analytics showed that people engaged with the parts of Learning for Life which mattered most to them. Anecdotally, there is much wider awareness of the resources and support that we can offer, which was exactly what we had intended.

What has been the longer-term impact?

Creating Learning for Life has definitely increased engagement with staff about both learning and mental health. It has also created a great momentum on which to build.  Although it comes at a time of year when we’re already heavily committed we really want to make the most of this. So we’re planning to extend its impact by using ‘evergreen’ content across the year. Although this was a special campaign centred around a fortnight, with a specific focus, our aim is for learning to become an everyday activity.  This was a great start towards that.

Angie Macknight shares her three tips for LAWW success:

  • Have a clear aim, objectives and ways to measure success
  • Engage others in the planning and delivery of LAWW, starting as soon as possible
  • Build up and on the momentum so L&D is part of every day, not just once a year.

Angie Macknight is the Learning and Development Manager at Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

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