In last month’s update, I highlighted the recent launch of the Students’ Union campaign to tackle mental health issues facing students.
Last week, we announced a new pilot project which brings together Belfast HSC Trust, Queen’s and Ulster University to enhance mental health services for students. The project, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, will see a £150,000 investment in a new integrated service to improve the link between local NHS care provision and on-campus support provided by both universities. This pilot service will provide help for the small but significant group of students who need more specialist mental health services.
A few weeks ago I attended the 30th Anniversary of the Science Shop, another example of collaboration between Queen’s and Ulster University which has supported hundreds of community groups Northern Ireland. The event, which was attended by students, staff and representatives from various community groups, highlighted the significant impact the Science Shop makes, not just on communities across Northern Ireland, but on the students involved in the projects. Congratulations to all those involved in this great initiative which demonstrates the significance of university-community engagement.
Building and strengthening partnerships and collaboration has been a key priority for me over the past six months and so I was delighted to host a joint meeting of the Royal Colleges of Physicians. This was the first time the Colleges from across the UK and Ireland had met together and it was particularly significant for the event to be hosted at Queen’s, given the topic was Brexit and Medicine. I hope the event will be the first of many opportunities for future collaborations between the Colleges and Queen’s. One particular area of potential collaboration is in postgraduate training where we are currently exploring with partners the development of an integrated approach to postgraduate training for the clinical professions.
Queen’s facilities were on show recently when the Irish Rugby team held an open training session at Queen’s Sport’s Upper Malone as part of their Six Nations training. This was my first official visit to Upper Malone and it was great to be able to see round the impressive facilities and meet some of the staff who do fantastic work for Queen’s Sport.
I have also had the chance to visit the Works Department in Rugby Road, where I heard from our Maintenance Staff, and learned about the issues that concern them, as well as all the good things they told me about working in Queen’s. Our estate and facilities are excellent and I know that this reflects the commitment and expertise of our Maintenance Staff. Hearing from staff is important and last month I hosted the second of our Staff Forum Meetings which focused on the feedback that Forum Representatives had gathered in relation to the Appraisal process. A Review Steering Group has been established to look at the Appraisal process and the feedback provided to the Forum has been shared with the Group.
At the beginning of the month, I emailed staff to announce the launch of the Staff Survey 2019. The Survey will run from 29 March to 18 April. I would encourage you to take the time to complete the survey and provide your honest feedback. It is only by completing the survey that you can make your voice heard and help shape the future employee experience at Queen’s.
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