We spoke to some of our students to find out the difference our people can make to their lives whist they live with us.

 

We are very pleased to announce that we have launched The Student Wellbeing In Purpose-Built Student Accommodation Guide, co-created by ourselves and other British Property Federation (BPF) members. The guide has also been endorsed by the Department for Education. 

 

The guide highlights the positive impact that student accommodation providers are having on student wellbeing across the UK and demonstrates the purpose-built student accommodation sector’s commitment to continuously improve wellbeing support.

 

With over 28 years’ experience, and a deep and continuous student research programme, Unite Students is in a unique position to share its learnings with the sector. Our people work closely with students 24 hours a day including when students are at their most vulnerable, so we have the opportunity to make a huge difference to student experience. This is why we provide active listening training to all staff members, and deploy welfare leads in every city we operate in to keep a finger on the pulse of student mental health, and make sure we are always there when we are needed.

 

We were the first in the sector to develop a professional framework for student wellbeing and to hire student service professionals to advise and guide our teams on difficult or unfamiliar situations. We have a clear escalation process in which all team members can raise a concern about a student’s wellbeing, and we work very closely with our university partners to get them the support they need. Each of our city teams has trained mental health first aiders and we regularly update our staff on trends and emerging issues in student welfare.

 

We recognise that PBSA providers have a huge opportunity to help students to keep themselves well, especially during the transition to university. Our App lets flatmates talk to one another before they arrive, and our Student Ambassadors are there to welcome them on their first day and help them make friends through events and activities. Our student website The Common Room contains lots of content on staying well at university, most of it created by students themselves.

 

As pioneers, we have had to develop our approach with no blueprint to work from, which is why we’re delighted to be able to support others in the sector by sharing what we have learned. Setting out a framework to support PBSA providers, should mean this guide is a valuable and practical resource to the sector as a whole, helping us to all play a small but vital role in supporting student wellbeing at university.