UCC first Irish university to receive KeepWell Mark for dedication to staff wellbeing

UCC is the first third level institution in Ireland to receive the accolade from Ibec

University College Cork (UCC) has become Ireland’s first higher education institution to be awarded with the Ibec KeepWell Mark, a national workplace wellbeing accreditation. The accolade recognises UCC’s dedication to the welfare, health and wellbeing of its staff.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy visited the university yesterday to present it with the award. McCoy congratulated UCC, claiming that he was “delighted” to present UCC with the Ibec KeepWell Mark and to “recognise that [they] are the first third level institution in Ireland to achieve this accreditation”.

UCC formulated a strategy plan (2017-2022) with the purpose of improving the induction process, professional development, and wellbeing of its workforce. An additional staff wellbeing plan is currently under development.

Sylvia Curran, UCC Staff Wellbeing and Development Advisor, emphasised the commitment of the university to its wellbeing strategy: “We are committed to enhancing staff health and wellbeing and have taken the responsibility for the planning, design and delivery of an appropriate organisational staff wellbeing plan to ensure these needs are addressed.”

In order to support and improve the wellbeing of its workforce of almost 3000 people, UCC provides routine staff health and wellbeing talks and seminars on various topics, including stress management, financial planning, parenting, diet and sleep.

UCC employees are encouraged to take part in the many physical activity courses that are regularly held, such as yoga, samba and general fitness classes. Workshops such as mindfulness and art relief are provided for staff, as well as several initiatives focused on staff wellbeing, such as the Health Matters and Family Friendly initiatives. Health assessments are also conducted.

Upon receipt of the award, UCC President Patrick O’Shea stated that “UCC is delighted to be the first university to receive the KeepWell Mark. Not only does it confirm our commitment to the well-being of our colleagues here on campus but it also helps to ensure that the principles of health and well-being extend beyond the workplace and into the lives of our families and communities.”

Trinity’s Strategic Plan 2014-2019 outlines Trinity’s “people-first approach”. Trinity runs physical wellness programmes for staff in conjunction with Trinity Sport. The Active Commute programme gives staff who commute to College through means such as jogging or cycling access to showers and changing facilities.

The KeepWell Mark is as “an evidence-based accreditation that recognises and celebrates organisations that put the well-being of employees at the forefront of company policy,” according to McCoy. The accreditation of this award is determined through a process of auditing, on-site assessments and benchmarking it against a set of eight business practice standard areas.

Alison Traynor

Alison Traynor is the current Life Editor of Trinity News.