AAT’s new wellbeing hub

aat comment

Students, apprentices and employers can use our new wellbeing centre to access tangible resources.

AAT takes the wellbeing of students very seriously and we know that mental health and wellbeing challenges have increased, particularly in the post-COVID era. We have seen an increase in calls to our customer service team regarding stress, anxiety, and depression, and we want to build our student community to provide support and advice.

For this reason, we have set up an AAT wellbeing hub to:

  • raise awareness of the existing well-being resources and benefits to students
  •  embed wellbeing support throughout the student experience
  •  use the student feedback we gain from our advisory groups to offer more of what students need
  • develop a hub pulling together inspirational stories and tangible well-being resources.

AAT also has in-person branch events and the student community, both of which provide an opportunity to meet other people and enjoy peer-to-peer support.

There’s also a student advisory group, comprised of 30 students across three levels, who meet quarterly and feed into how to shape the future.

Why has AAT has launched the wellbeing centre?

“We want to help students,” says Montanna Stafford, AAT’s Product Manager for Students. “We know that combining work and study is tough, and if you have extra responsibilities such as caring for family members at the same time, the pressure is even greater. We know how hard our students work towards their qualifications and that at times it can seem overwhelming. AAT qualifications are a gateway to an exciting new career and great opportunities, and we want to support you every step of the way.”

She points out that there has been an increase in home study and distant learning, and while that can be great to fit around other life and job commitments, it can also lead to burnout and loneliness.

“We’re aware that there have been assessment problems and glitches and so we paused assessments for a number of months,” she says. “While we have sorted this out now, we know that people are still concerned about the cost of living, the cost of exams, and the financial strain of studying.”

Mental health support matters

External reports further reinforce the message that students are struggling with a number of different pressures. In ACCA’s Global Talent Trends survey, one of the key themes identified was addressing burnout as a priority as stress levels are on a high.

The report also found that mental health remains a major challenge. Over half (57%) said their mental health suffers because of work pressures, and almost half still feel their employer doesn’t consider mental health to be a priority.

What’s more, 90% of students surveyed by the National Union of Students (NUS) for its September 2022 Cost of Living report said the rising cost of living had negatively impacted their mental health.

“Wellbeing means different things for different people,” says Montanna Stafford. “Over time, we hope to create a one-stop-shop and provide what’s helpful for our students, including inspirational stories, wellbeing links, information about charities and resources and peer support and communities.”

AAT members can access benefits such as counselling and articles and advice on managing stress and help with stress and anxiety.

“What we also discovered when we did our research was that 19% of students are neurodivergent, and that requests for access arrangements for exams has increased. This is the personal side of how students are overcoming their barriers. We want to raise awareness that we can help and that the need for special accommodations shouldn’t be a barrier.

How can it help me?

“We will continue to put on events to support student wellbeing,” says Montanna. “At our annual student conference, we had a session called Breaking down Barriers, where students and members described their personal struggles. That was very well received.

“We also have inspirational stories from members like Melanie Walker, who thought that she’d be unable to work, and how AAT opened the door for her. The wellbeing hub pulls together tangible resources and inspirational stories and tips for success.”

The Hub will provide mental health support, information and advice to members through articles on the AAT Comment site, including what to do if you need help with your mental health, managing digital burnout, balancing work and studying and managing stress and anxiety.

Wellbeing is essential to help us thrive when it comes to productivity, maintaining relationships, building resilience, and ultimately feeling greater satisfaction in life.

Whether it’s to do with your studies, your work, or facing life’s challenges we’re here to support you the best we can, so you can feel more equipped to tackle your day-to-day when managing stress and pursuing your goals.

The wellbeing hub is curated by AAT and accessible to current AAT students, members, or AAT tutors.

Further reading for students and members

Mental Health Awareness Week: AAT reinforces commitment to mental wellbeing for staff and members

How I overcame my mental health issues and went on to succeed with AAT

Melanie Walker explains How to make distance learning work and you can watch her talking about her AAT experience here.

Joshua Barlow explains how he has overcome the challenges of autism and Jayd’n Sarrington describes how AAT has helped change his life and his career prospects.

More information for employers

Wellbeing on a budget

Working with neurodiversity

Empowering student wellbeing: AAT’s new wellness learning pathway

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

Related articles