An Under 18 program with a difference

Ms Nicolle Walker1, Mr Rhys Leppan1

1Deakin College, Burwood, Australia

The purpose of this presentation is to talk about how Deakin College has developed and successfully run a unique Under 18 program and how we continue to offer support to Under 18 international students during a Pandemic.
In the presentation we will give an overview of what was involved in setting up the program and how this program is different from others by having a caretaker live on campus.
We will discuss how we found the balance between being supportive yet allowing the students to still be independent. This was done through the Under 18 team encouraging students to do things for themselves such as cooking and cleaning of the apartment, making a roster for cleaning giving the students responsibility that we could oversee, assists the students in learning some life skills and helping them gain some independence.
One of the biggest issues we faced was and is Covid-19. There are many aspects of the students’ welfare that we had to consider when the world changed. This includes the impact to mental health going from face- to- face study to online study and being limited to their apartments during stage 4 restrictions. We wanted to try and limit the amount of time the students were online, so instead of having a big online meeting, we held smaller meetings with each apartment every fortnight so that the Under 18 team could be more interactive with the students. We also used the social media platform that students are active on, to communicate some information such as changes to restrictions and online events.

My name is Nicolle Walker and I am the Under 18 Manager at Deakin College. I have been working in the student accommodation industry for 10 years. In my previous role, I placed international students in homestay through a private homestay company. I have also been involved in the student services area at Deakin College. My knowledge and experience from these roles has assisted me in developing a new program at that involves under 18 students living at Deakin Residences.

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