PRESS RELEASE: New regulated qualifications for mental health

With one in four adults likely to struggle with mental health at some point in their lives, there is an increasing emphasis on the need for awareness of how employers and businesses can help their staff.

And with that interest has come demand for authoritative qualifications that can provide employees with the knowledge to assist colleagues on matters of mental health.

Highfield Qualifications has launched a range of qualifications so that businesses can support mental health in their workplaces.

The qualifications explore how individuals can recognise their own and others’ mental ill health, how to support mental wellbeing in the workplace, promote a wellness culture, and the importance of resilience and self-care.

The suite is made up of three individual qualifications:  

The qualifications are recognised by Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England, and sit on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), the reference system operated by Ofqual.

Chris Sprenger, Highfield Managing Director, said, ‘It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to appoint someone in the workplace who is responsible for first aid for mental health. And while it has not become a regulatory requirement yet in the same way as for physical first aid, there has clearly been a change in the way many businesses approach the issue. These qualifications will help businesses to support their colleagues and, through being regulated by Ofqual, will help them make an informed choice when it comes to choosing the right qualifications for their needs’.

Heather Beach, Managing Director and founder of The Healthy Work Company, one of the organisations that assisted Highfield in the development of the qualifications, said, ‘Companies are realising that happy, well, employees are more productive and engaged. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in the severity of common mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression and burnout.  These qualifications aim to provide organisations with regulated, assessed mental health training which supports individuals in understanding themselves better as well as the tools for better conversations about mental health – for managers and peers alike’.

The qualifications can be completed in one or two days through a Highfield approved training centre.

Highfield has also published a video which answers key questions about the qualifications and explains their content and purpose in more detail.

For more information, go to

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Notes to editors:

  1. Highfield Qualifications is one of the UK’s top three awarding organisations (AO) and winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2016 and Awarding Organisation of the Year 2018, offering over 250 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including retail, health and social care, rail, food safety, security, catering and hospitality, and logistics.

An in-depth look at our mental health qualifications

Heather Beach, Managing Director and founder of The Healthy Work Company

This week we launched our brand new mental health qualifications, so we asked Heather Beach, Managing Director and founder of The Healthy Work Company – one of the organisations which assisted Highfield in the development of the qualifications – to provide us with an in-depth look. 

Mental Health Training – qualifications explained
As someone who runs a training organisation in mental health awareness, today, on World Mental Health Day I am delighted to be talking about the release of regulated qualifications in mental health through Highfield Qualifications – including an option for Introduction to First Aid for Mental Health.

Why are these needed?
Companies are realising that happy, well employees are more productive and engaged. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in the severity of common mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression and burnout.  These courses aim to provide organisations with regulated, assessed Mental Health training which supports individuals in understanding themselves better as well as the tools for better conversations about mental health – for managers and peers alike.

Ofqual regulated qualifications require a great deal of peer review in terms of creation of the learning outcomes, the assessments, the selection and ongoing supervision of instructors.

What are the qualifications?
The qualifications are predicated upon the fact that everybody needs an Introduction to General Mental Health Awareness – so before embarking on either of the further courses which deal with the approach to conversations, everyone must pass the level 2 Mental Health Awareness unit which is about 4 hours of guided learning.

Then because managers make an enormous difference for the mental health of the people in their teams, and because they have specific legal responsibilities, there is Introduction to Mental Health in the workplace for Managers which is a Level 3 qualification.

There is a further qualification for those who wish to support colleagues in the workplace – Introduction to First Aid for Mental Health which is a Level 2 qualification. 

What is new?
These qualifications can be offered anywhere in the world rather than being restricted to a certain territory. 

The Stevenson Farmer review published in 2017 said, “We start from the position that the correct way to view mental health is that we all have it and we fluctuate between thriving, struggling and being ill and possibly off work”.   These qualifications, therefore, look at us as human beings and the fact that we can all struggle from time to time with mental distress.

The qualifications also look at our responses to stress or pressure and how we can improve those.  They spend as much time looking at how we can learn to thrive in life as they do looking at mental illnesses.

In First Aid for Mental Health, the First Aider is encouraged to consider boundaries and what the organisation is offering in terms of further support. There is a clear distinction made between a management conversation and that of a First Aider for mental health conversation.

Finally, because of the fact that your training organisation is delivering a set of clear learning outcomes but is not restricted in terms of the content they deliver which supports these, there is an opportunity with some training organisations to tailor aspects of the content to your organisation. This may include the role of the First Aider in your organisation and the next points of support for example.  Some trainers, including ourselves, will also develop case studies for specific organisations so that the listening exercises are more relevant.

Qualifications will not be for everyone. As assessment is made of the ability to have a conversation as well as the knowledge aspects and whilst obviously your tutor will work with the cohort to ensure that as many pass as possible, there may be some who struggle. This is something to consider in terms of who you put forward for the programmes.

Who are they suitable for?
These qualifications are suitable for those who wish to expand their knowledge on what mental health looks like for human beings as well as improve their confidence and ability in having conversations with someone in mental distress.  Participants need to be 16 and over and have a good level of English.

They are probably most suitable for delivery in a workplace setting – large or small. They provide, as their titles say, introductions to the topics so they are not designed for mental health professionals, nor should you expect to become a therapist or a life coach as a result of these qualifications.

Heather Beach is fascinated by what makes people thrive in life and the part work can play in this. She runs a business specialising in Mental Health and Stress Management for corporates and is an ex-Director for a global company, where she ran their health and safety business division publishing magazines, running conferences and information services.  A student of Applied Positive Psychology (MSc), founder of Women in Health and Safety and the Barbour webinar series, she was voted in the top ten most influential people in health and safety in the UK for the second year running in 2019. She and her team at The Healthy Work Company have worked with businesses such as Eurostar, ITV, The Telegraph, Battersea Power Station, IOPC, Game and Luton Airport to support wellbeing strategy and training. As a small business owner, she tries very hard to practise what she preaches but isn’t perfect.

You can follow The Healthy Work Company on Twitter at @HealthyWorkCo 

And on Facebook at




New first aid for mental health qualifications from Highfield

Highfield Qualifications has launched a range of new first aid for mental health qualifications so that businesses can support mental health in their workplaces.

And we’ve made available our 1-hour webinar which provides an overview of the qualification content and objectives, delivery and assessment methods, an introduction to a selection of learning outcomes and how to use the unit amplification.

Key topics include:

We also address questions from viewers at the end. However, if you have your own questions, please post them below and we will get back to you.

You can view the video below.

How much difference can e-learning make?

Birthday cake celebrating 20 years of Highfield e-learningHow much of a  difference can e-learning make? It’s a question we’re often asked. So how about we show you?

Since  Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Awareness e-learning was launched, it has gone from strength to strength, with hundreds of thousands of individual modules completed.

We worked in partnership with Marks & Spencer on behalf of NaCTSO to create this online course that is FREE for qualifying businesses.

Originally designed for industries such as retail, entertainment and hospitality in mind, the course is interactive and can be tailored to suit a business’s needs. Those who complete it achieve a nationally accredited commendation.

‘It is 45 minutes that could potentially save your life.’

Talking about the e-learning, Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth commented, ‘It is so important that as many people as possible arm themselves with this crucial advice – it is 45 minutes that could potentially save your life.’

The ACT Awareness e-learning is one high-profile example of how suitable online training can potentially make such a difference.

However, all of our e-learning courses have the potential to make a real difference.

An award-winning, bespoke e-learning solution we created for Marks & Spencer had quantifiable results including:   

  • reduction in costs through minimising interruptions to trading
  • 1:1,000 return on investment
  • significant increase in reporting compliance
  • reduction in total training time of 2 years

The Learning Technologies Award judges commented on the course and the impressive outcomes for M&S and that it was, ‘A genuinely innovative approach to several compliance issues facing staff. The strategy and media, including for the teaser campaigns, made this a winner!’ 

But it’s not just bespoke packages that have the potential to make a real difference.

Meeting legal requirements
In the UK it is a legal requirement for food handlers to undergo appropriate training. This means that food businesses must ensure their staff are appropriately trained to a level commensurate with their role and responsibilities.

Historically this has meant sending staff on a training course at an external training provider or, for larger companies, paying staff to attend internal training. This has meant, in addition to the cost of training, the business has incurred additional costs such as ensuring appropriate shift cover.

Our online food safety courses, available from level 1 to level 3, meet all legislative requirements for food safety training. They are self-paced and can be completed in less time than the equivalent face-to-face training.

Online allergen training
Allergens are high on the agenda for most food businesses. High-profile incidents and reports involving high-street brands are never far from the news, and a high-profile court case involving a takeaway in Manchester made the front pages of national newspapers and news sites across the world.

Our online allergen training course ‘Introduction to Allergens’ is endorsed by Allergy UK, and meets the requirements of the Allergy Aware Scheme.

The knowledge this course covers has the potential, quite literally, to save lives.

Related to allergens and allergic reactions our Anaphylaxis and Autoinjector Short Course is another course with a real-world application that can save lives. It’s a piece of learning we hope you never need to call on, but the growing prevalence of allergies can mean that you need to know how to respond in the event of an allergic reaction.

So, what difference can online training make to my business?
There are a huge number of factors that mean e-learning makes a meaningful difference. Whether you are looking on behalf of a business, a school or college, a private training provider or as an individual there are multiple benefits to utilising our online courses.

The difference e-learning can make includes:

  • reduction in lost man hours – Highfield e-learning is accessible online and is self-paced. Once you have purchased a licence the learner can access the course for 12 months. Meaning the course can be completed in lulls in workload or in short bursts.
  • reduced costs – staff training can be expensive. It is an expense that must often be justified. By using appropriate online training courses businesses can reduce the cost of training staff members by removing the costs of a tutor.
  • improved safety – our online training courses can improve levels of competency through knowledge. The real-world scenario-based tasks within our courses reinforce the correct action to take.
  • significant time-saving – compared with classroom-based learning methods there is the potential to save significant time through the effective utilisation of e-learning courses. Marks & Spencer saved 2 years in training time compared to its previous face-to-face training delivery method when it switched its duty manager training to online courses.
  • comprehensive reporting – when you use Highfield e-learning you will be given access to our Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS offers comprehensive, fully transparent, reporting on learners’ progress, success rates and more.
  • tailored content, and bespoke and customised courses – online courses can be created with content, messaging, learning outcomes and assessment criteria specific to your business’s needs. Which means that your employees feel like they are taking training relevant to their job.

 Find out more
If you’re interested in exploring how e-learning can make a difference to your business, please contact us. Our team will talk through your current training, and identify how e-learning can help you.

Celebrating 20 years of Highfield e-learning

This week we’re celebrating 20 years of Highfield e-learning! And the team at Elior have sent us this lovely message to help with the celebrations.

We provide a huge range of courses for the team at Elior, one of the countries largest contract catering organisations, and have worked with them for many years.

So that you Elior! We’re looking forward to another 20 years!

To find out more, go to

We’re approved for the Improvement Practitioner standard

Highfield approved for Improvement Practitioner standardWe’re already one of the country’s leading providers of end-point assessment (EPA) services for one of the widest ranges of apprenticeship standards.

But it’s always good to add another string to our bow.

And now you can too,  as Highfield Assessment has been approved to deliver end-point assessment (EPA) for the Improvement Practitioner standard.

Improvement Practitioners lead smaller projects or play a key supporting role in a larger programme, tackling issues that may require swift problem solving, or re-occurring challenges that require in-depth analysis and the implementation of a range of effective and sustainable countermeasures.

The standard has been put together through the expertise and knowledge of some of the most successful businesses in the UK including BT Group, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, Wincanton Plc, Britvic and GlaxoSmithKline. 

Why choose Highfield for your EPA?
We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to. We can offer your business a full range of assessment services, support and advice to help you and your improvement practitioner standard apprentices achieve your goals.

In fact, we’re one of the leading authorities on EPA in the country and have already worked with some of the biggest and best-known organisations in the UK, delivering thousands of successful assessments across over 30 different apprenticeship standards.

That all stems from our unbeatable offer and complete assessment service, which includes:

  • assessment resources and guidance
  • engagement with external quality assurance organisations
  • training and standardisation for assessors to ensure fair, consistent and reliable assessments
  • our own dedicated employer engagement team
  • a simple scheduling process, with a scheduling team on hand to support you
  • a digital dashboard that tracks every point of a learner’s journey, allowing you to gather data, generate reports and action tasks
  • and most importantly, our understanding of both apprentice AND employer requirements

All of which adds up to thousands of happy apprentices, providers and employers!

So, whether you’re considering taking on apprentices for the first time, wanting to have your existing in-house training recognised, or you’re searching for services to ensure you claim your full share of levy funding, you can trust us to deliver.

Find out more by dropping us a line at or by calling 01302 363277/0845 2260350.

Or go to

Highfield Qualifications is recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and sits on the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations. Our EPA services are delivered through our Highfield Assessment brand.

We’ve launched a brand new suite of digital qualifications

New suite of digital qualifications from HighfieldWe’ve launched a brand new suite of digital qualifications to give you the opportunity to offer more training options to your customers.

Our new Information Communication Technology (ICT) qualifications, which are available as awards and certificates from entry-level to level 2, cover basic IT skills for learners preparing to enter work and for those looking to build their skills in the workplace.

The UK’s ICT industry now makes around £60 billion each year and is currently one of the world’s largest ICT markets. And the great news is that approved Highfield centres can now register to be among the first to deliver these qualifications to make sure that learners don’t miss out. 

For more information on the qualifications, just follow the links below: 

So if you’re already a Highfield approved centre and want to offer our new digital qualifications, please speak to your account manager who will be happy to help. 

If you’re not a Highfield approved centre, call us on 01302 363277/0845 2260350 or drop us a line at 

Support for health and social care apprentices

Looking to support your health and social care apprentices? We have a solution for that…

We offer a Healthcare Support Worker Apprenti-kit specifically designed to support the on-programme delivery of the Level 2 Healthcare Support Worker Apprentice standards.

  • Track apprentices’ progress towards gateway and their readiness for end-point assessment (EPA)
  • Evidence required knowledge, skills and behaviours
  • Cover all the modules of the standard
  • Broken down into manageable chunks
  • Allows apprentices to work at their own pace
  • Available as hard-copy or digital (compatible with most e-portfolio systems)

For more information, go to

SCPLH review now live

The Scottish Personal Licence Holder qualifications (SCPLH), required by anyone holding a personal licence in Scotland to authorise the sale of alcohol, or manage or supervise in premises where alcohol is sold, are currently undergoing an independent review to ensure the qualifications are fit for purpose and add value to businesses.

Scottish Government has contracted skills and quality assurance expert, People 1st International, to undertake the review, which is currently underway.

Operators, training providers, awarding organisations and other stakeholders right the way across the licensed retail industry are being engaged to ensure the views of the industry are heard and incorporated into the revised standards. Ultimately, the aim is to transform them into simple, fit for purpose qualifications that provide individuals with a professional development standard – as well as meeting licensing legislation. 

Having already conducted the first phase of the review process working with an industry steering group and gaining initial views via an online consultation, People 1st International then conducted a series of focus groups to discuss the detail of the qualification content with experienced operators.  People 1st International will continue to work with trade bodies to gather the views of their members over the next few weeks.

The final stage of the review is now underway to gather views on the revised qualification content from the wider industry. Your views are critical. Please get involved and have your say on the proposed content of the revised standard by accessing the survey here:

People 1st International will be submitting the revised standard to the regulator, SQA Accreditation for approval in October 2019 and the new qualifications are planned to be available in May 2020. 

Children’s healthcare/early years’ professionals needed

Image of people doing a team hand-stackChildren’s healthcare/early years’ professionals, we’re looking for your help.

As one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations and educational publishers, it’s our job to develop qualifications and supporting resources to support people in their chosen career.

But we wouldn’t be able to do that without the help of our magnificent subject matter experts, who provide the knowledge and insight needed to make our qualifications and resources relevant.

We’re currently looking for people who have significant experience of working in children’s healthcare and early years settings.

As a subject matter expert, you’d be contracted on a self-employed, consultancy basis to support the qualification development team with the development and review of qualifications and associated assessment material using your extensive subject specialism and experience to inform our projects.

So if you’re interested in becoming part of the Highfield team, send us a DM or get in touch on

To see other opportunities in this sector with Highfield, take a look here