MDX has joined other universities and major employers in signing the C-19 Business Pledge, which is helping mobilise efforts around the coronavirus outbreak.
The Pledge, co-founded by Justine Greening and entrepreneur David Harrison, encourages UK businesses and universities to demonstrate their commitment to do what they can to tackle the impact of the crisis on their employees, customers, and communities.
It builds on the work of the Social Mobility Pledge, initiated by Greening and Harrison to engage organisations and drive progress on levelling up opportunity, which MDX previously signed up to.
Over the past few weeks MDX has embarked on an extensive programme of support for staff and students – including transitioning to working at home for all staff before the lockdown, online teaching and assessment put in place for all programmes and online employability resources.
MDX has commissioned online service Big White Wall, which enables members of the university community to connect emotionally and anonymously with others to help manage their mental health, in a safe forum moderated 24/7 by trained professionals. The service is free to use for all students and staff.
A new #TeamMDX ambassador scheme offers students peer to peer support in three different ways: a “study buddy” to keep focused and motivated, a “friendly face” who can call for a chat, and “necessities support”, where students go shopping for essential items for those isolating or in quarantine. The scheme also gives MDX students who are missing out on part-time jobs due to the outbreak an opportunity to earn an income. Meanwhile, student residential assistants are supporting students who are still living in halls, if they find themselves struggling with loneliness and isolation.
MDX staff and students are working hard to support London’s response to the outbreak. Some 500 second and third year nursing and midwifery students are on the frontline on placement or ready to step up on the government’s emergency register, and MDX is providing continuing professional development training for NHS staff and retirees caring for patients.
MDX is using laser-cutters to produce thousands of visors - more than 6000 so far - as much needed PPE for London healthcare workers.
MDX student police officers who started their degree apprenticeship programme in January are now out with their divisions, helping officers with their duties during this unprecedented crisis.
MDX Vice-Chancellor Nic Beech said: “I’m delighted that MDX has signed up to the C-19 Business Pledge, which shares the caring and civic-minded ethos at the heart of the university community.
“All of us have had to make huge changes in our lives both at home and at work since the coronavirus outbreak began. I’ve seen how MDX staff have innovated to bring our MDX approach to education into online spaces in a very short time, and also to deliver our professional services virtually at a very high standard.
‘Your health, safety and welfare are our top priority - we’re here to support you. Although we’re not in one place, we are a community, let’s pull together and look out for each other,’ @NicBeech1, Vice-Chancellor ❤️ Stay updated online 👉 https://t.co/sUXBoYFKsu pic.twitter.com/hZgGeJOM8z— Middlesex University (@MiddlesexUni) March 16, 2020
"Although we're not in one place, we're one community. How colleagues have gone out of their way to care for our students and how they’ve collaborated with each other shows that, when we act with compassion, we are at the top of our game”.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andrea Dlaska is joining the C19 Business Pledge University Steering Group, which looks at the role of universities in tackling the crisis and the impact the outbreak has had on the sector. “It will be important to highlight the exceptional contribution of our staff and students, but also the challenges many students face in the current economic situation”, she said.
The COVID-19 Pledge has already gained backing of more than 200 employers representing over 1.6 million staff and students, as well as seventy-five cross-party MPs. Supporters to date include BT, BP, Shell, Sainsbury, Asda, Everton Football Club, National Grid, Co-operative Group, United Utilities, British Land, Unilever, PwC, DLA Piper, Severn Trent Water, global recruitment firm Emerald Group and software provider Advanced. Universities that have signed up to the challenge include Bradford, Bournemouth, Brunel, Cumbria, Exeter, King's College London, Leeds Beckett, London Metropolitan, Staffordshire and York St John (see the full list here).