As mentioned in one of my first blogs, I really want to talk about the various jobs that I was able to find while studying at Surrey University. Well, the moment has come and, firstly, I am going to talk about my role as a student ambassador.
Before I begin, I should probably emphasize that I was well aware of such schemes in UK universities. Since I did my undergraduate at University of Essex and was working there for a few years successfully in a student ambassador capacity, I knew that I would be looking for similar type of role at Surrey.
My first encounter with the scheme was at a Jobs’ fair at the beginning of the year where I met a few student ambassadors giving out leaflets and talking about upcoming ambassador recruitment sessions. Once I noted key dates and the application process, I knew that I would be preparing and submitting my application. In the application I was able to choose between three departments: UK/EU Student Marketing & Recruitment, Widening Participation & Outreach, and International Student Marketing & Recruitment. Out of all of them, I decided to apply for the first two.
The primary target of UK/EU Student Recruitment is to promote University of Surrey at various events, such as UCAS Fairs, Open Days, and Visiting Days. In order to work for them I was invited for a one-day recruitment session where my suitability for the role was tested. I must admit that I do not remember the actual exercises we had to do on the day, but I can certainly recall the fact that the tasks were based around teamwork, communication, and other essential soft-skills. At the end of the day, I felt that I did a fine job in showing my strongest qualities and allowed myself to have a good chance of being accepted in the scheme.
The main responsibilities of the Widening Participation & Outreach (WPO) strand surround the promotion of Higher Education in general. Their recruitment process differentiated a little from the one that Student Recruitment used. Instead of the whole day assessment centre, I was invited to a short 10 minute one-to-one interview with several supervisors from the team. They asked me some questions about myself, my motivation for the position, and what I knew about the objectives of WPO. Luckily, before-hand I researched the role and their department and was prepared for these type of questions so it was not too difficult to deal with them and answer properly.
Once successfully accepted for both roles, everyone had to attend multiple trainings in order to be ready to carry out the role in full capacity. However, these were quite interactive and fun, while we were also paid to take part.
So far I have worked quite a bit for both departments and I can share my first-hand experience with the type of tasks you could expect to do if accepted. With WPO I mainly go to local schools to help with various interactive sessions that promote the benefits of university or allow younger school students to experience taster sessions in their favourite subjects. Alternatively, it could be as well that they would be coming to university and we would be giving a hand with sessions over here. For example, last week was a “Year 8 week” where 100 of students came from local education institutions to experience a range of subject sessions and to learn about university life throughout the week. As an ambassador, I was assigned a group of students for whom I was responsible in making sure that they understood the tasks, followed them, and I also helped with any queries they had on the day. It is a great way of making connections with youngsters and inspiring them to build the desire for a future degree.
On the other hand, with Student Recruitment I am mainly involved in attending Applicant and Open Day sessions where visitors are able to participate in subject related talks and experience what it is like to be at Surrey. The tasks involve talking and engaging with prospective students, delivering campus tours, and helping with other administrative tasks on the day. For example, giving different colour sticks to visitors in order to control the group size of the campus tour. Moreover, I also applied through this scheme to write this blog and represent Lithuania, and become an accommodation representative where occasionally I show my campus accommodation to visitors.
Considering everything, I would definitely recommend that anyone apply for this role as there are so many opportunities to get involved through which you can show your love for the university, Higher Education, and even just simply make connections. I think that the job is really rewarding and why should you not take it when you get paid as well!