£1m WMCA backed Thrive at College programme to be delivered by seven colleges in the region
14th March 2024
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The £1m pilot is to be formally launched in September 2024 and will offer support to people aged 19 to 24 years old with their health and wellbeing, helping learners to succeed during their time at college.


South and City College Birmingham is one of seven colleges the WMCA is working with to co-design the offer along with Coventry, Sandwell, Halesowen, Walsall, City of Wolverhampton, and Telford Colleges.


The most recent Youth Voice Census* highlighted the importance of supporting young people with their well-being, with more than half (55%) of young people in education saying their learning had been disrupted. Many young people reported missing education due to poor health, impacting their motivation to continue with their studies.

Thrive at College follows on from the huge success of Thrive at Work and Thrive into Work programmes and is expected to provide around 200 young people with extra support and mentoring in a bid to support health and well-being, help them stay in education and transition into employment.

The Thrive programmes have already supported 4,000 people with long-term health issues find and retain jobs (Thrive into Work), and over 550 businesses understand how to improve staff wellbeing (Thrive at Work).

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “Seeking to improve residents’ mental wellbeing in the region continues to be a key priority through the WMCA’s groundbreaking Thrive programmes.

“Thrive at College builds on the success of those other programmes by supporting people with their health and wellbeing while they are in a learning environment. We know that healthy and happy people can more easily achieve their full academic potential and become more productive, benefitting society as a whole.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the WMCA’s wellbeing portfolio lead and leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The West Midlands has been leading the way nationally in seeking to improve residents’ mental health and I’m pleased that we are working with seven colleges in the region to deliver the WMCA’s Thrive at College programme. By building on the success of our work in employment support and workforce wellbeing through our Thrive programmes, this innovative approach will help to support our younger generation to become happier and healthier.

Mike Hopkins, principal and chief executive of South and City College Birmingham, said: “Happy, healthy students learn and achieve better, and we do everything possible to help them in college knowing that their wellbeing and mental health in particular, are serious concerns that impact on them. As a college we are very proud to be a partner with the WMCA on the Thrive at College programme to support our students and we know that it is a major benefit to them.”


The vision for a mentally healthier West Midlands in which residents thrive at school, college and work, and in their own communities was set out in the final independent report of the region’s second Mental Health Commission.

The WMCA is using Commonwealth Games legacy money to fund community-led schemes that promote physical activity and wellbeing – both drivers of good mental health.

A further £2 million will be used to help grow the region’s social economy – to support of the Commission’s recommendations around creating self-sustainable and healthier communities.

For more information about the Thrive programmes visit: Thrive into Work and Thrive at Work

WMCA is working with Youth Employment UK on their 2024 Youth Voice Census, where people aged 11 to 30 are invited to take part to share what is good about where they live, work or study and how it could be better. The information gathered will be used to help inform and shape future policies and projects to improve the lives of our young people.




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