Times are changing; we have all had our challenges over the past year whether it has been how to manage over-recruitment with a lack of beds, or restructures in our departments. We are all now looking to the future and how the lifting of the student number control will affect our businesses over the coming year.
The conference will open on Sunday with ‘ask the expert’ sessions; these include legal matters and UCAS media. We have also incorporated a ‘meet and greet’ for new delegates as our membership and conference attendance increases both internationally and UK-wide. Our ever-popular exhibition will be larger than usual and, as always, will include all aspects of student accommodation whether it’s a bed for them to sleep in, a system to allocate them to their rooms or an internet supplier; these and many more will be available for our delegates to browse and perhaps even shop!
This year’s keynote speaker will be Steve Backley OBE (former Olympic javelin athlete) who is now a professional speaker and advocates surrounding yourself with the right people as essential for continuing success. I am sure just this one aspect will resonate with our members. Other speakers at the conference will include the return of popular legal eagle Hilary Crook, and our regular update on drugs and legal highs.
As accommodation continues to be one of the important recruitment tools for all our institutions, there will be training sessions on topics relating to social media, international experiences and sharing of best practice, partnership working and input from our colleagues relating to specific Scottish and Welsh issues.
Thinking People will once again be providing a session on cross-cultural competence and understanding the transition challenges for Chinese students: their session is ‘sold out’ quickly every year!
It will be a busy agenda with something for everyone, whether staff work in the accommodation office, a residence, pastoral roles or in the private sector.
Away from the learning there will be the usual opportunity to network with other delegates and exhibitors who many may not have seen since the last conference. I think it is difficult to quantify the value that many of our members get from networking and the realisation that we are not alone when we have problems and help and advice is always available.
This year’s conference takes place on 19–22 April, Celtic Manor, Newport. For further information visit: https://www.asra.ac.uk/news/asra-news/asraconf2015