Employability Plus gives students skills for life

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Thursday 5 March 2020 is University Mental Health Day. The day brings together the university community to make mental health a university-wide priority and create ongoing year-round change to the future of student mental health.

Mental health is an important part of our overall wellbeing. Like physical health, if we let it deteriorate it can lead to a range of problems that can affect our life significantly.

Our Department of Theatre and Media Performance has come up with an inspired way to equip students with resilience training, while creating an open dialogue around many of the anxieties students face.

Employability Plus teaches employability skills while exploring wellbeing, identity and selfhood. Students produce creative outputs such as films, devised performances, radio drama and documentaries, all linked to mental health.

Salford academic and film-maker Naqqash Khalid has made several short films. 

Twenty current students and recent graduates were offered the opportunity to work on films Naqqash made with BBC Arts, Arts Council England, and Sky Arts.

The films focussed on identity and citizenship and students shadowed professional counterparts on set, working as camera, sound, props, continuity, make-up and postproduction assistants, all gaining a professional screen credit.

After the success of Naqqash’s project, the team followed up with a larger-scale initiative called Young Minds Matter.

70 students worked with writer Esther Wilson, Psychodramatist Phil Burgess and mental health charity PAPYRUS to devise, script and produce three 15-minute films exploring mental health issues.

Student Peter Hodgeson said: “The best bit is the variety. Doing the writing with Ester was so creative, psychodramaturgy with Phil was cathartic, and the production workshop provided top level professional insight.” 

The films - soon to go into production – will be used by PAPYRUS to raise awareness and increase understanding of young people and mental health.

Director of PGT in the School of Arts and Media, Frances Piper adds: “Tackling anxiety around careers in the creative industries is at the heart of the Employability Plus project. Traditionally some of the most creative and inspirational minds are often apprehensive and self-doubting in their ability. Unlike traditional practical courses this programme includes specific activities that allow students understand their wellbeing.”

You can watch a documentary on our Young Minds Matter project below. 

Follow the conversation on University Mental Health Day online using the hashtag #UniMentalHealthDay



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