Estates project officer helps put mental health on national agenda


A project management degree apprentice with Solent NHS Estates has spoken nationally about the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Project officer Rochelle Sampson-Clarke addressed over 250 people at the recent Association for Project Management’s (APM) Women in Project Management Conference 2022 held in London.

As chair of a mental health and wellbeing sub-group for Women in Project Management, Rochelle presented a new communications toolkit aimed at creating a more supportive workplace.

The workplace wellbeing profile asks individuals to complete information about themselves such as their work style and personality type.  This document can then be shared with their colleagues and manager, with the aim of encouraging open and honest conversation.

As well as helping the employee understand themselves better, the profile helps their team to understand them too – and ways they can potentially support when needed.

Rochelle, who has worked as a project officer with Solent Estates since 2019, said: “The speakers and panellists at the conference were extremely inspiring.

“I am a huge advocate for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing so felt very privileged to be presenting the workplace wellbeing profile, which is a tool that enables important conversations between colleagues and employers that can later prove invaluable, for instance if someone is feeling stressed or overwhelmed.”

The 35-year-old has also been part of an education sub-group for Women in Project Management and took part in a series of webinars in which she talked about her journey as a project management apprentice.

“Working full-time while studying and juggling family life has been very challenging at times but I have loved the dual aspect of learning on the job and studying in the classroom that the apprenticeship has offered,” said Rochelle, who is based at Westwood House in Bitterne, Southampton.

“I would thoroughly recommend an apprenticeship as it has allowed me to quickly gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to successfully manage a variety of projects and has built my confidence as a project manager.

“I am part of the first cohort to be offered the project management degree apprenticeship within the department and my team and manager at Solent Estates have been very supportive and provided invaluable insights that have assisted when completing work-based learning modules. It has been a great opportunity to gain another qualification.”

Mark Young, Associate Director of Estates Transformation, said: “Rochelle is a superb ambassador for our Estates and Facilities team. She works incredibly hard and shows great passion and commitment in everything she does.

“As a team, we feel extremely proud to see her progressing to the point where she can speak with confidence at a national conference.”





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