Hundreds of college staff have been given health and wellbeing qualifications to improve workplace efficiency.

The wellbeing course was started at Barking and Dagenham College, in Rush Green, where 312 staff members enrolled.

Bella Parenti, head of 3D design disciplines at the college, completed the qualification herself.

“A pivotal element was staff voicing their personal journeys,” she said. “This was fostering an environment of empathy and solidarity.”

The college has now been awarded an ‘Association of Colleges Beacon’ commendation for its mental health programme, giving employees tips and information to help focus on their own health and personal development.

Andrew Duffy, one of the programme organisers, said: “The outcome has been openness, mutual understanding and a distinct community spirit.”

The first step was teaching theoretical basics of wellbeing as a first step, then five days of workshops and activities such as yoga and meditation. Crucial topics like dementia, diabetes awareness and mental health were highlighted in seminars.