One of the most recent, and most striking examples of this has been our final year nursing students from the School of Health & Community Studies opting to join the NHS workforce six months early, as part of the fight against coronavirus.
Throughout June, our 50 years blog will focus on health and wellbeing, and reflect on our institution’s impact in this area – at a time when the fight against COVID-19 is dominating the economic and political agenda, and indeed our day-to-day lives, in a way we have never experienced before.
The commitment of our academics and students to the whole health and social care agenda is quite phenomenal, but we all came into these professions because we care about people and communities.
Our placement and volunteering model with a student-led approach, our teaching by dedicated academics who have worked in the health and social care sector themselves, and the strength of our long-standing relationships with external partners means our students and graduates can hit the ground running when they enter the workplace.
Academics set the standard expected for students from the moment they arrive. They role-model the values and the professionalism that students are expected to adopt – enabling them to make a significant contribution to the sector during their work placements and when entering the profession.
LBU is proud that more than 90% of nursing undergraduate students go on to work at either Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust or Leeds Community Health Trust.
We also have clear goals in widening participation across the communities we serve and this passion to make a difference also drives us to think about how we bring people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the workforce.
As a university, we work with community groups, including staff volunteering for charities such as the Joanna Project Leeds.
In more recent years, there has been a huge overhaul to the mental health agenda and greater investment in prevention, which is driven by cultural change and leadership.
To reflect this, The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools is now working with more than 600 schools in the UK and overseas to improve the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff.
The initiative, led by Professor Jonathan Glazzard in the Carnegie School of Education, exists to strengthen the mental health of the next generation by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK's education system, thereby improving outcomes and life chances.
The focus on health and wellbeing during these unprecedented times has brought forward some innovative ways of working.
LBU has been adapting to the current climate by offering virtual placements for student social workers, and online assessments, as well as investing time to maintain strong relationships with key partners.
Our research enables us to make significant contributions to the sector, from Dr John George developing the antibiotics of the future and Professor Jane South’s work with Public Health England and the World Health Organisation, to Maria Maynard’s vision of health equality for all, to level the health playing field for migrant communities.
Looking to the future, we will continue to work tirelessly to strengthen partnerships, innovate, and conduct outstanding research to support those working in the health profession.