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A win-win for student ambassadors

By: Bill Thrall

No one can quite express what a particular course, university or college is really like better than the current students themselves. That’s why student ambassadors are so important.

The role of a student ambassador

Ambassadors are employed by universities and colleges to share their knowledge and experience of further/higher education with potential future students. The work they undertake could be at their university or college, on location at a local school, or at an event such as a careers fair.

Image: Falmouth student ambassadors working an open day.

The type of roles that ambassadors play can vary depending on their skills, knowledge, and the actual event in which they are working. For example, at university open days, ambassadors might:

  • lead small groups of visitors on tours of the campus
  • give talks on the subject or course
  • offer general help and signposting
  • help out during the registration process (signing in)

At careers/HE fairs, ambassadors:

  • interact with pupils, teachers and/or parents and talk about their course, institution, or their journey to higher education.

In schools, they:

  • lead or support taster workshops
  • give talks on aspects of student life, including managing money, choosing a course, how to fund HE, accommodation etc.

Working as an ambassador is a rewarding experience, with many students reporting how it made them realise where their strengths lie, and the direction in which they wish to go upon completion of their studies.

Image: Ambassadors from Bridgwater & Taunton College

What are the benefits of being an ambassador?

Working as a student ambassador brings numerous benefits. First off, it’s a part-time job so you get paid! Also, as an ambassador, you don’t have to work when you don’t want to, and you don’t have to do jobs you don’t enjoy, or don’t feel confident in doing, So, if public speaking terrifies you, you won’t be forced to do it.

The thing to remember with ambassador work is that it comes with responsibility and requires an element of passion for your course and institution. Because of these reasons, student ambassador work looks great on the CV.

Employers value applicants who have demonstrated responsibility and the ability to work alongside their studies. They also value applicants who have put into action the skills that higher education facilitates, such as effective communication, customer service, time management, and team work.

Training

Before engaging in any work as an ambassador, you will undergo some training. This would include general training on the role of a student ambassador (including code of conduct) as well as safeguarding training.  Depending on the types of work you’ve expressed an interest in, there could be additional training involved. Ambassadors are also be required to complete a DBS check.

How to become a student ambassador

When you arrive at your university or college for the start of the course, there will be all sorts of activities happening to welcome new students and let them know of the opportunities available to them. It’s likely that there will be information available for new students wishing to become ambassadors.

Some institutions will hold specific recruitment events for potential ambassadors, so look out for posters and flyers advertising the event. Students are often informed about these events via email. You can also search your institution’s website, as they usually have a dedicated section for student ambassadors. Here’s an example from Plymouth Marjon University’s website. 

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