How great student ambassadors can make a real difference

Many universities offer students the chance to act as ambassadors alongside their studies. It’s a winning idea all-round: students can build their skills and share their experiences of university life, and universities can really connect with potential new students in a genuine, authentic way.

But it’s vital to make sure that the any ambassador programme is of high quality. Ambassadors need to understand their role, and how to interact effectively with young people and to ensure the best outcomes for the young people they’re working with.

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While there’s no standard for student ambassador training, we’ve developed a programme of workshops for undergraduates that makes sure ambassadors are equipped to work to their best across a wide variety of widening participation contexts.

For the past few years we’ve trained ambassadors for UNIQ, Oxford University’s flagship summer school programme.

I found it really motivating and inspiring to think about what UNIQ’s purpose is and how we can go the extra mile to support students as much as possible
— Katie Truslove, UNIQ Ambassador

Our training helped ambassadors to frame their contribution, understanding why their role is vital to the intervention’s success, from logistical support to leading sessions

It helped them develop confidence in interactions, so ambassadors become comfortable with the dynamics of individual, small group and large-scale interactions, and their responsibilities in these situations

Discussing the scenarios in pastoral care … brought up issues I know I would have struggled to respond to on my own
— Emma Hogg, UNIQ Ambassador

And it helps them implement effective techniques so they can integrate effective teaching techniques into their practice

We get great feedback from the sessions: every single one of the participants told us they left the workshop with clear strategies they could use during the Summer School.

Reminded me how much I was capable of and made low points into lessons
— Kyra Leyland, UNIQ Ambassador