Promoting 21st century student competencies: Piloting a wellbeing intervention

Dr Mary  Whiteside1, Dr  Emma  Bould1, Dr Annie Venville2

1La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 2Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia

Aim:

In Australia and internationally, universities are undertaking to prepare students for the 21st Century through building the social competencies fundamental for professional practice and wellbeing. There is little evidence on how these competencies can be fostered in curriculum. The aims of this study were to pilot an Aboriginal wellbeing intervention in order to assess the impact and relevance of the program for promoting social competencies and student wellbeing.

Method:

The Family Wellbeing program was delivered to 64 first year social work students. A questionnaire incorporating the validated Growth and Empowerment measure, the Australian Unity Personal Wellbeing Index and open ended qualitative questions was administrated pre and post the intervention.

Results:

Quantitative results indicated that the intervention is highly relevant for student wellbeing, particularly for those who rated themselves as below the median at baseline. Qualitatively students reported that participation impacted on their personal wellbeing and social competencies, for example their self-awareness and confidence, ability to manage life stressors and their relationship skills. The relevance of the program to their future profession helped them to engage more fully with their university studies.

Significance of the findings to allied health:

These findings are relevant beyond social work to all allied health disciplines. They highlight the relevance of this intervention for promoting social competencies that enable people to problem-solve and adapt in a complex world.