Supporting u18’s in PBSA in 2020

Miss Angela Kolsch1

1Scape Group, Melbourne, Australia

This year has proven difficult for students to navigate a rapidly evolving situation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with challenges never seen before. In PBSA we have had to adapt to ensure the wellbeing of our students and staff remained priority.
The PBSA sector faced significant challenges that impacted our services and in turn our students experience whilst living with us. Our operational platform needed to consider evolving legislation to ensure we were adhering to government restriction and guidelines in creating a COVID safe environment. Changes included social distancing measures in communal areas, visitor restrictions, up to date communication to our residents and adaptation of our social activities and wellbeing programs to a digital platform. A particular pressure point was our u18 students, our most vulnerable cohort who often require an extra level of support and guidance. We recognised where we could refine and improve our current processes in a COVID world including moving our curfew sign in onto a digital platform to eliminate gatherings. This however impacted our ability to complete a visual wellbeing check and created further limitations on interaction with our students. A wellbeing program was developed to counteract this, allowing us to reach both our under 18 and over 18 students.
In this presentation I discuss the implementation of COVID safe process and support programs to overcome the challenges faced within PBSA. The presentation will focus on our urbanest properties in Melbourne who house the majority of our u18 students who have endured one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. This will include student’s feedback and experiences living at PBSA whilst dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Using this insight, we are committed to evolving our current wellbeing program and sharing these learnings to focus on continuous improvement across the PBSA sector.

Angela Kolsch joined Urbanest student accommodation in 2014 and played an integral part in building their highly successful portfolio within the PBSA market. Since joining the Scape Group in 2020 as their Next Generation Manager, Angela has assumed responsibility for the planning and implementation of the under 18 program across Melbourne, extending her knowledge and responsibility across 3 brands, 7 properties, and over 500 under 18 students. Having worked with hundreds of under 18 international students over the years, Angela has a passion for students’ wellbeing and maximising the experience for our next generation while living in PBSA.

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