April is here and, after a long Semester 2, the Easter break is in sight.

Looking back

March has been an incredibly busy month in peer support, dominated by the recruitment of undergraduate peer mentors. An amazing 712 current first year students have signed up to become mentors and have attended training with us. The training looked at topics including designing the ideal peer mentor, looking at the lifecycle of a first year students, signposting support and being inclusive mentors. Welcome to all of our new peer mentors.

With 37 training sessions delivered across a five week period, we would not have been able to do it without the support of members of staff across the University and the Students’ Union. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to help us deliver this programme of training for our peer mentors.

Elsewhere, the Peer Support team have also been observing PAL sessions for both our Academic and Foreign Languages PAL schemes. It has been incredibly inspiring to see the hard work our PAL Leaders put in to plan and deliver PAL sessions for their fellow students and to learn more about how PAL works for different types of programmes. Keep up the good work!

Email peersupport@bath.ac.uk if you have a success story you would like us to share with the peer support community.

Spotlight

As one of our Portuguese PAL Leaders, Clara works with students studying Portuguese to practice and build confidence in their language skills and learn about Portuguese culture.

What made you decide to get involved with the PAL scheme?

As a language student, I find it extremely helpful to speak with native speakers and the best way to gain direct access to cultural aspects and everyday language. This motivated me to share my knowledge and passion for my own native language in a supportive manner, while gaining and developing invaluable skills too.

What has been the most positive aspect of being a PAL leader?

It is extremely rewarding to observe and contribute to the dedication and hard work of students and to notice the impact of our help through the PAL scheme, especially if everyone is having a great time whilst doing it!

What has surprised you about the scheme/ something you were not anticipating?

It was surprising to see how valuable it is to students to have this extra support and how enjoyable it is to prepare work and deliver the sessions, without spending too much time on it and still making a difference!

What skills have you developed /further developed as a result of being a PAL leader?

Transferable skills such as communication, creative thinking and problem solving have improved massively through being a PAL leader and have helped me strive in many aspects of my academic and personal life.

Looking forward

We will be celebrating the achievements of our wonderful peer mentors and PAL Leaders at the annual Community Awards on 2nd April at the Victoria Art Gallery.  We will be handing out four awards – Peer Mentor of the Year, Lead Peer Mentor of the Year, PAL Leader of the Year and PAL Scheme of the year. We recently announced the shortlists for these awards and you can see who has been shortlisted and sign up to attend via <our event page>. Best of luck to all those shortlisted!

We’ll also be celebrating the contributions of staff across the University to peer support at this year’s Education Awards, which is taking place on 5th April at the Apex Hotel. We’ll be handing out two awards – Outstanding Contribution to Peer Mentoring and Outstanding Contribution to Peer Assisted Learning. Best of luck also to our staff nominees on the night!

We will be training with our brand new Lead Peer Mentors on 10th April, preparing them for their new role. We will also be hosting our Lead Peer Mentor networking lunch, where current Lead Peer Mentors and support staff can meet with the new Lead Peer Mentors to discuss ideas for next year.

Volunteer of the Month

Guto Roberts, Lead Peer Mentor for Business Administration, has been named as Volunteer of the Month. He was nominated by Eliza from the Business School for his support in running a Semester 2 event for mentors and mentees. The event was focused on preparing for placements, as BBA students are currently applying for placements for their second year. Eliza wanted to thank Guto “for all his hard work on the evening”.

If you would like to nominate a volunteer or group of volunteers for our next award, you can do so by emailing peersupport@bath.ac.uk before 25 April stating your nominee(s) and why you think they deserve recognition.

Best wishes

Peer Support Team