Supporting young people’s wellbeing in the workplace
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Supporting young people’s wellbeing in the workplace


Transition times are here. More young people will join the workforce this month than any other. If you have apprentices or graduates joining your organisation - are you ready? How will you help them navigate the change?

When young people start out in the workplace, employers often find that they are not sufficiently prepared to adjust to the demands of employment, and skills that would enable them to adapt positively are often lacking.

What can you do to help young people bridge the gap between school, further education and employment - and the minefield of potential psychological stressors that brings.

The facts
  • 1 in 6 young people aged 17-19 suffer from a mental disorder. Anxiety and depression are most common and can be brought about by significant changes in young people’s lives such as starting a new job.
  • Mental wellbeing is one of the most valuable business assets. 20% of lost working days in the UK are attributed to mental health problems. Prioritise mental health and see better engagement, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity.
  • The Health and Safety at Work Act applies equally to mental wellbeing as to physical health. Your organisation is obliged to manage risks to mental health and promote wellbeing.
Top tips for mentally healthy workplaces

We believe that wellbeing should be at the centre of every workplace strategy. Higher rates of mental wellbeing are linked to happier workforces and greater job satisfaction. It seems like a no-brainer to us, so we’ve compiled our top tips for promoting good mental health in the workplace.

1. Leadership commitment is key. Company leaders must clearly communicate their wellbeing vision. Set clear expectations regarding wellbeing amongst staff, and lead by example. Remember that new apprentices and graduates often have no benchmark of expectations in the workplace, and if you’re not going to take mental health seriously, why should they?

2. Talk about it. Make time to chat, and find out what is impacting (positively and negatively) on your graduates and apprentices’ actions and relationships at work. Is there adequate opportunities for them to discuss any issues they might have, and do they know about your policies and procedures to prevent bullying, harassment or discrimination?

3. Create a supportive environment. Your early careers talent are much more likely to focus on their mental health if their workplace environment supports this to happen through culture, policies and practices. Young people often come straight from an educational environment, where everything is very familiar and ‘safe’, and workplaces are fundamentally different. This difference can be overwhelming, so ensure there are channels of support available to them, both formal and informal – just in case they’re struggling.

At Outward Bound we work with employers to address the behavioural skills gap in apprentices and graduates. If you think we could help you, please get in touch.


Further Reading

Free report

Young people’s mental health is a topic of constant debate. Our report looks at if connecting with the natural environment is beneficial and how you could use this.

Free taster course

Find out how the power of learning in the wilderness can nurture young people's mental health and wellbeing at our free taster course on 22-23 November 2019.