Peer learning schemes at the University of Bath are student-led, discipline-owned and centrally coordinated through the Students’ Union. The success of these programmes relies both on enthusiastic volunteers and an intensive training package that fully prepares students for their role. Since adopting a centralised model of peer support at the University, the number of students involved has increased with now over 950 students volunteering. Whilst the growth in numbers shows institutional buy-in to peer learning, there is now greater pressure on staff supporting such schemes, for example training volunteers.
Following a successful bid through the Teaching Development Fund (TDF), secured in collaboration with the Academic Skills Centre, the SU was able to review its existing training provision. An online element was added to the peer mentor training and a cross-institutional training team was set up to support the face-to-face provision. Staff from all areas within the University were invited to apply to be trainers and the project resulted in the recruitment of seven trainers (see appendix 1).
Not only were the benefits of this training team seen by the Peer Support Team, but the trainers themselves also benefited in many ways. They were able to broaden their own work experience, develop key transferable skills, gain a better understanding of the student experience and use this experience towards professional recognition. (more…)