Nick Radley is Head of College Services at the University of Essex International College.
We asked him to talk about what student support during lockdown has been like for Kaplan students, and how he and his College Services team are continuing to support them.
What has it been like providing support for students during lockdown?
Supporting students during lockdown has given me a great opportunity to get to know them really well. While I miss seeing all the students in person, utilising online platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has enabled us to see students throughout the day at times that best suit them. We are actually able to get lots of things done with them there and then!
What kind of support is on offer at this time?
During lockdown, all of our students have been able to access all the support services we would offer throughout their programme normally. One particularly great thing is that while we’ve been online a lot more, we have been able to develop the Kaplan community even further by running events for students from all colleges across the UK.
Over the winter break, there was a full calendar of activities that students could join, including quizzes, exercise classes, talent shows and short lectures. It was great to meet students from all around the world and hear how excited they are about their programmes and progression degrees.
Do students take advantage of the support on offer? What are the most popular services at the moment?
Students continue to access support like any normal day. One aspect of student support during lockdown that I really enjoy is the Virtual Receptions where students can just drop in at any time to ask for help, ask a question or just chat and share their experience.
In general, how have the students responded to lockdown?
Students never fail to amaze me with their commitment to develop. They are showing such resilience to the current circumstances and have embraced changes so well. It has been brilliant to see students continue to build their peer networks while being spread across the world.
What tips do you have for students to protect their mental wellbeing?
My tip for students to protect their wellbeing would be to create a schedule and make sure that they build in time for themselves. Also I would encourage students to take part in the social activities that the Kaplan colleges offer in order to make new friends and learn something new. These are great opportunities to learn a skill, discover a hobby and share interests with others.