Following a comprehensive review of pupils’ mental health and emotional wellbeing conducted pre COVID-19 by the Department of Education, a series of key recommendations emerged. One of these was the development of a stand-alone website to support Gibraltar students in their journey into higher education, primarily where this step takes them abroad to an institution outside of Gibraltar, where an element of separation anxiety exists. Even though this transition away from family support networks can be seen as part of ‘growing up’ and becoming an autonomous and more mature individual, some young people can find this process a significant challenge for numerous reasons.
The website is designed very much as a resource for individuals who are contemplating higher education abroad as well as for those already engaged in these studies. Often the development of an informed choice of whether to go, or indeed when to go, are key and fundamental questions. The website, through past student testimonials and experiences, encourages aspiring undergraduates to reflect on these critical decisions, with the University of Gibraltar providing exciting and viable alternatives locally.
The funding for this initiative has kindly been provided by Playtech following a detailed proposal submitted by Mr Wayne Barton and Mrs Jackie Linares from the Department of Education. Other school projects that have received funding include trauma informed training; mental health first aid; and person centred planning: transitions to adulthood; among others. Mrs Brenda Cuby, on behalf of Gibsams, has kindly agreed to manage the funds as a locally recognised charity. The website which has been designed by Ms Gerry Martinez of Niche Creative Solutions, has been launched today, 22nd August 2023, and contains key information such as a scholarship checklist; financial guidance provided by the FSC; how to manage individual expectations; sexual health and wellbeing strategies provided by GHA colleagues; links to NGOs locally; and useful links to the University of Gibraltar among other resources. If frequent usage of this website by students is demonstrated, the platform may in the future be developed to include more interactive features.
The Department of Education invites young people to check out this new stand-alone website on www.gibraltarstudents.gi.