Welfare officers

UKSA’s Welfare Officers – empowering you to reach your full potential

Your wellbeing is our priority at UKSA, and our dedicated welfare officers provide emotional and pastoral support to all students, regardless of age and ability. You are never alone at UKSA and we are here to help.

Help and advice when you need it

We take a unique approach to learning at UKSA and believe that your time spent with us is as much about learning skills and gaining qualifications as it is about honing your interpersonal skills and developing confidence. Our holistic approach to learning gives you the real skills you need to enter the workplace, and the confidence you need to continue developing your career in the future.

As part of our commitment to the sustained growth of our students, we have a dedicated welfare team on site. Kim Fry and Gemma Maskell are professionally trained and offer support tailored to each individual, giving you space to reflect carefully on your circumstances and then create proactive action plans.

Our support and advice will help you to build confidence by arming you with the skills you need to manage your work effectively, both whilst at UKSA and when working in the industry.

Kim says: “UKSA has a genuine family feel, with friendly staff and great communication across the team. After a few days at UKSA everyone will know your name and you will feel reassured by the fact that our doors are always open if you would like a confidential chat. I work with both students and instructors and can always help with advice and guidance, regardless of the situation.”

Meet the UKSA welfare team

If you need to talk, we’re here to listen. You can choose to speak to a member of our UKSA welfare team below.

Welfare Officer Kim FryKim Fry
Safeguarding and Welfare Manager
As our dedicated welfare lead Kim supports students, staff and parents with professional guidance and advice. Kim is a qualified social worker and has extensive experience working with children, young people, families and adults. Kim is also a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor Member and works closely with the Maritime Sector to promote the importance of good mental health awareness.

Meet Gemma Maskell our Welfare OfficerGemma Maskell
Welfare Officer
Before joining UKSA, Gemma worked as a qualified secondary school PE teacher. As well as teaching, she has previously worked in the health & well-being industry helping clients improve their mental health and fitness. As a welfare officer at UKSA, Gemma will be supporting parents and students with professional help and advice.

Under 18’s

Our welfare team also act as another point of contact for parents whose children are staying with us. Our teams work closely together, and we are here to answer any questions you may have about our programmes, facilities and pastoral care.

Our welfare manager, Kim Fry, is additionally part of UKSA’s Safeguarding Team and is one of our Designated Safeguarding Leads here on site.

Welfare and Mentoring Strategy

UKSA has developed a Welfare and Mentoring Strategy that looks to support individuals holistically. This means that we have the resource to support the wellbeing of individuals by considering their emotional, physical, cultural, spiritual, and social development needs in parallel with their career learning journey.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Who can speak to Kim and Gemma?
Students, parents and instructors can all talk with Kim. As well as being a welfare officer, Kim is also our safeguarding officer for under 18s.

Q: When can I speak to Kim and Gemma?
A: The welfare office is open during office hours (9am-5pm), Monday to Friday. Please contact our Reception desk for details on how to make an appointment with Kim.

Q: Will the welfare officers share our conversations?
A: All conversations with the welfare team are confidential and will not be repeated.

Q: Can Kim or Gemma make referrals?
A: If appropriate, Kim and Gemma can refer students to a further support including, but not limited to, GPs and counsellors.

Q: What about when I’ve left UKSA?
A: All UKSA students, even when they have left their course and have started working, can contact Kim or Gemma with their concerns. UKSA is unique in offering this ongoing support to all our students.

For more information, you may wish to refer to the following websites:

WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) development

Based 0n common sense and experience, a WRAP moves from your wellbeing being managed, to you self-managing. It is made up of the following steps:

  1. Daily Maintenance Plan – The things you need to do every day to maintain your wellness (e.g. eat, sleep, exercise, connect with others, generally look after yourself).
  2. My Wellness Toolbox – What you can do to help yourself stay well or feel better when you are not feeling great (e.g. read a good book, go for a walk, practise mindfulness or make a playlist of your favourite music)
  3. Triggers – These are the external events or circumstances that if they happen, can make you feel distressed (it helps to know what these are).
  4. Early Warning Signs – These are the subtle signs of change that indicate you may need to take further action (start to take note of your stress signatures, for example headaches, irritability, isolating yourself from others).

When things are breaking down: In spite of your best efforts, your distress may become uncomfortable, serious or dangerous. BUT you can still take action on your own behalf. This is your plan that will help reduce your distress when it has got to this point. It is quite directive, with fewer choices and some very clear instructions for yourself. If you feel you are struggling please don’t feel like you are alone, we really are here to help.