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Williams lead the grid on mental health support for F1 apprentices

07 Aug 2019

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An innovative partnership between Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited and Remploy, the UK’s leading disability, skills and employment specialist, is putting good mental health in pole position.

Williams already use the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service delivered by Remploy to offer confidential, personalised mental health support to any employees with depression, anxiety, stress, or any other mental health conditions affecting their work. They also now offer this support to their apprentices and recognise the importance of them having access for their mental wellbeing.

Su Chantry, Occupational Health Manager for Williams Performance Health, said: “Formula One is a very competitive environment. Many young, high academic achievers apply to become part of the Williams apprenticeship programme every year and only a handful make it through, so even the application process is exceptionally challenging. 

“We recognise that apprentices are a unique group of employees who sometimes struggle with really high academic demands, so we want to ensure there is support available for them.”

The service is provided by Remploy as part of the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. It offers bespoke personal support for any apprentice struggling with their mental health to help them develop a plan to stay in, or return to, their apprenticeship, as well as coping strategies or reasonable adjustments to help them overcome any barriers they may face.

Su said: “Williams are an F1 team with an established in-house Occupational Health team with a robust mental health strategy. Our collaborative relationship with Remploy is integral to this, especially as we can make direct referrals to the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service which adds a real layer to what we can deliver in the Occupational Health element of the business.

“Illness related to mental health can be viewed as a taboo in F1, so the hope is that the more that we talk about mental health, the more people will know it’s okay to talk about it. It is all about education.”

Williams recently achieved a Disability Confident Level Two Employer accreditation as part of the UK Government scheme, which aims to help organisations successfully employ and retain disabled people and those with health conditions. 

Chris Kingsbury, Partnerships Manager for Remploy and the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service said: “The motor industry is renowned for being a high pressure setting, which can cause increased levels of stress and anxiety. It might be difficult for a young person to understand as they don’t have the experience to draw on, so it’s critical to have that support and intervention available to them. Williams have made mental health pivotal to their wellbeing strategy, which sets them apart - I hope others will follow suit.”

Su added: “I’ve had very positive feedback about the support we’re providing, this is empowering us to know what we are doing as an employer is very much what is needed. Williams is focused on supporting the health and wellbeing of the staff in the business."

For more information about the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, or working in partnership with Remploy, please contact Chris Kingsbury on 0776 636 4155.