Unite Students Accommodation Matters
Hidden risks: Reducing harms from high-risk student behaviour

Hidden risks: Reducing harms from high-risk student behaviour

November 22, 2022

Content note: This episode contains discussion of sensitive topics including drugs, alcohol, gambling and sex work. If you or someone you know needs support with the topics discussed in this episode, there are specialist organisations that can help you in complete confidence – please refer to the ‘Support’ section of the show notes for signposting.

Accommodation Matters brings together sector experts to discuss the Higher Education sector’s key issues through the lens of student accommodation, and this month, we’re looking at high-risk student behaviours that take place behind closed doors, such as drug-taking, drinking, gambling and sex work.

Our expert Higher Education panel, hosted by Jenny Shaw, explores why students might engage in these behaviours, what the risks are, and what university and student accommodation practitioners can do to support students and reduce harms.

This month’s panel includes:

  • Mandi Barron, Director of Student Services at Bournemouth University
  • Sunday Blake, Associate Editor at Wonkhe and former President of the University of Exeter Students’ Guild
  • Kev Clelland, Director of Insight and Engagement at the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM)

The panel is also joined by guest contributor Tracy Lumb, Senior Project Manager – Wellbeing at SOS UK, who shares her insights on student drug and alcohol misuse.

Tracy and Jenny will be speaking further on the topic at ‘Tackling drug use in student accommodation’, a Westminster Forum event, on Tuesday 10th January 2023. More details are available at the Westminster Forum site.

Unite Students is sponsoring the Universities UK taskforce on student drug use. The Student Drug Use Taskforce was launched by Universities UK (UUK), in partnership with Unite Students, GuildHE and Independent HE, and in order to better understand demand for and use of drugs within the UK student population, and produce evidence-led sector guidance with a view to reducing harms from drug use and better tackle supply.

Accommodation Matters was recorded on 11th November 2022 and produced by Ed Palmer.

 

Resources

The following resources are referenced during the episode:

 

Support

This podcast covers some sensitive topics. If you or someone around you needs support for these issues, the following organisations can help.

 

Drugs:

Alcohol:

Gambling:

Sex work:

S05E01: Student accommodation: home or hotel?

S05E01: Student accommodation: home or hotel?

October 13, 2022

Welcome to the fifth series of Accommodation Matters – bringing sector experts together to discuss the Higher Education sector’s key issues through the lens of student accommodation. We’re kicking off the new series by looking at the intersection between student accommodation and the hospitality sector.

Host Jenny Shaw is joined by a very special panel made up of student accommodation practitioners with hotel experience - discussing how they’ve applied their hotel experience to the world of student accommodation, whether students should be considered customers, and hotel trends that might emerge in PBSA.

This month’s expert panel is:

  • Vikki Welch, Associate Director of Student Living at University of Nottingham
  • Karan Khanna, Chief Customer Officer at Unite Students
  • Paul Watson, Central Operations Director at Unite Students

The panel is also joined by guest contributor David Marr, Head of Operations for Scotland and the North at Unite Students. He shares his personal experience of leaving home at 18 to work in the hotel sector, and how that’s shaped his view on supporting students as they make the transition to university life.

Accommodation Matters was recorded on 3rd October 2022 and produced by Ed Palmer.

In Conversation with… Victoria Tolmie-Loverseed

In Conversation with… Victoria Tolmie-Loverseed

August 24, 2022

The final episode of our In Conversation mini-series stars Victoria Tolmie-Loverseed, Assistant Chief Executive - Standards at student housing charity Unipol.

Victoria plays a major role in overseeing Unipol's national codes and standards for student accommodation, and now she shares her insights from 15 years in the student accommodation sector with host Jenny Shaw, Higher Education External Engagement Director at Unite Students. 

Topics covered include the affordability of student accommodation, student mental health in accommodation, and health and safety in buildings.

More information about Unipol's Codes can be found at the Unipol website.

‘Accommodation Matters: In Conversation’ is a 3-episode podcast mini-series, showcasing in-depth discussions with 3 Higher Education sector experts about their experiences, sector insights, and what they anticipate for the future.

Accommodation Matters: In Conversation is produced by Ed Palmer and was recorded on 19th May 2022.

S04E06: Preparing for the class of 2022

S04E06: Preparing for the class of 2022

August 9, 2022

Accommodation Matters brings sector experts together to discuss the Higher Education sector’s key issues through the lens of student accommodation.

It’s almost time for a new group of freshers to arrive at universities across the country, and the Higher Education sector is hard at work preparing for their arrival – so this month’s Accommodation Matters panel weighs in on who this group of students are, what stands out from previous cohorts, how the sector will have to adapt to their needs, and what they themselves are doing to prepare for this year’s new student arrivals.

Host Jenny Shaw is joined by an expert panel made up of:

  • Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)
  • Melissa Browne, Head of Operations at University College London (UCL)
  • Jo Blair, Regional General Manager for Scotland at Unite Students

Talking points include supporting the transition to university, cost of living challenges, sustainability and behaviour change, the evolution of the student accommodation sector over time. Panellists also share their tips for what advice they would share with new students.

You can find the Unite Students 2022 Applicant Index Report, previous applicant survey results and our Living Black at University report at the Unite Students website.

HEPI’s 2022 Student Academic Experience report is available at the HEPI website.

Accommodation Matters was recorded on 26th July 2022 and was produced by Ed Palmer.

In Conversation with… Dr Alexis Brown

In Conversation with… Dr Alexis Brown

July 19, 2022

The latest episode of our In Conversation mini-series stars Dr Alexis Brown, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute.

Speaking to Jenny Shaw, Higher Education External Engagement Director at Unite Students, Dr Alexis shares her thoughts on what the Higher Education sector's current challenges are, part-time and lifelong learning opportunities, and student wellbeing, as well as her own experiences of studying in the US and the UK.

You can find the UCAS data for international applicants here.

More information about the Office for Students (OfS)'s short course trial is available from their website.

‘Accommodation Matters: In Conversation’ is a 3-episode podcast mini-series, showcasing in-depth discussions with 3 Higher Education sector experts about their experiences, sector insights, and what they anticipate for the future.

Accommodation Matters: In Conversation is produced by Ed Palmer and was recorded on 11th May 2022.

S04E05: Postgraduates’ accommodation needs

S04E05: Postgraduates’ accommodation needs

July 5, 2022

Accommodation Matters brings sector experts together to discuss the Higher Education sector’s key issues through the lens of student accommodation.

This month, we’re exploring the postgraduate accommodation market, asking: who are the UK’s postgraduates? What do they want from their accommodation? And what are the challenges they face in accessing it?

Host Darren Ellis is joined by an expert panel made up of:

  • Rebecca O’Hare, Assistant Director (Residence Life & Accommodation Office) at the University of Leeds
  • Fiona Maingi, Digital Marketing MSc student at Royal Holloway, University of London
  • James Ballard, Innovation Manager at Unite Students

We’re also joined by special contributors Dr Diana Beech – CEO at London Higher – to give us a picture of postgraduate numbers, trends and motivators, and Caroline Persaud, Registrar at Goodenough College, to share a case study on Goodenough College’s specialist postgraduate accommodation offer.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)'s data on postgraduate numbers is available here.

Unite Students' postgraduate building trial is outlined in further detail at the Unite Students website.

Accommodation Matters was recorded on 21st and 27th June 2022 and was produced by Ed Palmer.

In Conversation, Episode 1: Hillary Gyebi-Ababio

In Conversation, Episode 1: Hillary Gyebi-Ababio

June 21, 2022

This summer, Unite Students is sharing ‘Accommodation Matters: In Conversation’: a 3-episode podcast mini-series, showcasing in-depth discussions with 3 Higher Education sector experts about their experiences, sector insights, and what they anticipate for the future.

Hosted by Jenny Shaw, Higher Education External Engagement Director, this first episode features Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, outgoing Vice President for Higher Education at the National Union of Students (NUS).

Hear Hillary's thoughts on community-building, student accommodation, student-led initiatives, and reflections on her time at the NUS in this thoughtful and insightful conversation.

You can learn more about Unite Students' Living Black at University research report here, and about Black People Talk at their website here.

Accommodation Matters: In Conversation is produced by Ed Palmer and was recorded on 11th May 2022.

New series trailer: In Conversation

New series trailer: In Conversation

June 17, 2022

This summer, Unite Students is bringing you brand new mini-series In Conversation.

Host Jenny Shaw speaks to sector experts one-on-one for an in-depth discussion about their Higher Education experience, insights and future predictions. We'll be bringing you three episodes over the summer in addition to our monthly Accommodation Matters episode.

Tune in to Episode 1, an interview with the National Union of Students' Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, launching on Tuesday 21st June!

S04E04: Lessons from around the world

S04E04: Lessons from around the world

June 7, 2022

Accommodation Matters brings sector experts together to discuss the Higher Education sector’s key issues through the lens of student accommodation.

This month, we’re going around the world to hear about what student accommodation looks like across different markets. Discussion points include the differences between student accommodation provision in the UK, United States and Australia, how each market caters to significant international student numbers, and the preferences of domestic students.

Host Jenny Shaw is joined by an expert international sector panel made up of:

  • Marion Bayley, Chief Executive Officer at Deakin Residential Services and President of the Asia-Pacific Student Accommodation Association (APSAA)
  • Tim Daplyn, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Global Student Living
  • Emelie Helsen, Campus Manager at Coventry University London
  • Pin Yiong, Intrapreneur at Unite Students

Accommodation Matters was recorded on 23rd May 2022 and produced by Ed Palmer.

Accommodation Matters S04E03: The future of student mental health

Accommodation Matters S04E03: The future of student mental health

May 9, 2022

Content warning: This episode contains discussion of sensitive topics including suicide, eating disorders and domestic violence. If you need support with the topics discussed in this episode, there are organisations such as Mind (0300 123 3393), Samaritans (116 123) or Student Minds that can help you in complete confidence.

Accommodation Matters brings sector experts together to discuss the Higher Education sector’s key issues through the lens of student accommodation. This month, we’re looking at the future of student mental health, including current student mental health trends, the latest thinking in the student support sector, and what this means for the future of student mental health.

Talking points include the legacy of Covid-19 on student mental health, how universities and accommodation providers are collaborating on matters of student support, student suicide prevention, and the future of student mental health provision.

Host Jenny Shaw is joined by an expert sector panel made up of:

  • Professor Jo Smith, Professor of Early Intervention and Psychosis at University of Worcester
  • David Malpas, Director of Student Affairs at Middlesex University
  • Becca Hayhurst, Head of Student Support at Unite Students

You can find the resources and organisations mentioned in the episode below:

Unite Students is the UK’s largest provider of PBSA, housing around 74,000 students in our 172 properties, which are based in 25 leading university towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 universities across the UK.

Accommodation Matters was recorded on 27th April 2022 and produced by Ed Palmer.

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