The Access Volunteer Programme builds on the recognition that role models are an important feature of any young person's life. With this in mind, the programme recruits and trains Access students to become Ambassadors for the promotion of higher education. The primary aim of the programme is to raise the aspirations of second-level pupils in disadvantaged schools with regard to their progression to higher education.
Ambassadors, as role models and as living testament to the fact that it is possible to attend higher education irrespective of background, visit schools to talk to second-level pupils about life as a higher level student. During these talks, Ambassadors aim to inspire, motivate and encourage second-level pupils to realise their full potential. These visits have been well received by second-level pupils as they can relate to the Ambassadors who are close in age to themselves.
The Programme is open to all existing Access students. Successful applicants will be provided with full training before completing school visits. Ambassadors have found this training very helpful as it teaches them how to deliver a presentation and instills confidence to speak in front of a group. These skills are put to use when students are required to make presentations as part of their course work.
A 'peer mentoring' aspect to the Programme was added in September 2009. In-coming first year access students are matched with an Access student from their faculty in order to ease the transition from second to third level education. Full 'peer support' training is provided for participating Ambassadors.
Hours spent on this programmes can be accredited for the President's Volunteer Award.
Further information on the President's Volunteer Award can be found at http://www.ul.ie/volunteer
Student leader positions for the Transition to University Course (TUC) week are also filled by Ambassadors.
If you are an Access student and you feel you would like an opportunity to give something back to the Access Office and local communities by becoming a Student Ambassador, or should you require any further information about the Access Volunteer Programme, please contact Deirdre O'Connor, Access Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator on 061 23-4121 or at firstname.lastname@example.org