Northern Representative Katy Lemmon
Accommodation Manager (University of Liverpool)
What do you enjoy most about working in student accommodation?
I’m really passionate about offering students a meaningful experience in their accommodation that starts at the initial point of interest and continues throughout their time with us, whether this is through excellent customer service, engagement at events or comprehensive support options. And let’s be honest, to have been in an industry for over a decade and still see things I have never seen before keeps the job interesting!
Can you provide details about a specific student accommodation project that you’ve been involved in, that you’re really proud of?
At the University of Liverpool, we’ve worked hard to change our practices and offer accommodation that is truly flexible and recognise that the world has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. To now be able to offer accommodation to students with no financial ties prior to arrival, the ability to cancel right up to the point of arrival and on a flexible basis once here is a big step in the right direction.
What does ASRA mean to you?
I’ve been an active member of ASRA for 10 years now. Not only do the regional meetings and conferences offer exceptional training and learning sessions, but you also belong to an incredibly supportive community. Through ASRA I’ve met liked minded colleagues, based throughout the UK, who have become a vital support network able to share ideas, best practice and there to remind you that you are not the only one going through difficulties. The knowledge, experience and insight of our members, as well as their desire to share, support and educate others is something really rather special.
What is your best ASRA memory?
Well there was one time most of the Liverpool contingent got locked out on a balcony trying to drink contraband… The Belfast conference will always stand out for me – the sessions were fantastic and thought provoking, the opportunity to visit the Titanic Museum was so exciting, and taking over the piano in the hotel foyer for a singalong until the early hours was great for us, less so for the poor night manager!
Thoughts on the future (accommodation)
With the cost of living endlessly increasing, and the financial support for students seemingly not so, student accommodation providers must ensure that rents remain fair, offer more flexibility and provide a joined up approach to student support. We have a responsibility to support students from all backgrounds to achieve academic success, and this goes much farther than offering a good quality space to live. We need to ensure that students feel included, engaged and supported in their accommodation and our teams have the knowledge and guidance to proactively assist students throughout their time living with us.
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