Being an active Peer Mentor or PASS Leader counts as one of the roles for the “Step Up and Lead” part of the Stellify Award.
Peer Support offers lower year students the opportunity to gain pastoral and academic support from higher students who study the same subject area. Higher year students are trained in sharing their experiences and creating a safe environment where lower year students can ask questions at any time throughout the year.
Peer Support is split into two branches, which are ‘Peer Mentoring’ and ‘Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)’ . Each subject area will have either a Peer Mentoring or a PASS scheme to support all 8000 first year undergraduate students, therefore you will have the opportunity to become either a Peer Mentor or a PASS Leader depending on your scheme.
After completing a training package to get you ready and equipped for your upcoming role, you will become part of a strong community of students trained in delivering Peer Support.
PASS Leaders and Peer Mentors work in pairs, and are assigned to a group of 6-15 students. You will introduce yourself in Welcome Week, which could take place before a subject event or through you and your co-Leader/Mentor getting in touch with your group of students and meeting up at a café.
Once you have met your students as a group for the first time and introduced yourself and your role, you will meet up with them and communicate with them at least once a week to see how they are getting on settling in at the university and to see how they are finding their subject of study.
Firstly, being a Peer Mentor or a PASS Leader for your subject’s Peer Support scheme means that you will have a primary role in supporting a group of students to settle into university life. You’ll gain experience in helping lower year students develop themselves, dealing with confidential issues and giving advice – all of which can be very rewarding.
Through being involved in Peer Support you will have the opportunity to gain a lot of soft skills which employers look for – for example, you will be developing your planning and organisational skills as well as managing your time and liaising with students and staff.
You will also have access to exclusive opportunities that are ongoing throughout the year, which includes paid work, volunteering and other projects that you can get involved with that take place within the University and the SU or within Manchester more generally.
Ultimately, you have the opportunity to meet other students with similar interests, and help you to form a community within your subject area.
If you are interested in getting involved in Peer Support and you know who your Peer Mentor/PASS Leader is, then you can ask them. Alternatively, visit our website at peersupport.manchester.ac.uk or email us directly at email@example.com so that we can put you in touch with your subject’s Peer Support scheme!
Ariane has been involved with PASS throughout her time at the University – first as a PASS Leader and then as a Student Coordinator for her School. As a PASS Leader her role was to run weekly study sessions with a group of first year students to ensure that they transition smoothly to university life and appreciate the value of collaborative learning for their own progression. Now, as a Coordinator, her role is to oversee the SBS Peer support scheme and mentor PASS leaders to ensure that they embrace the PASS ethos and take full advantage of the opportunities volunteering in peer support offers them.
"I believe that PASS is a great way of bridging the gap between students of different years, allowing younger students to learn from older students’ experiences and older students to gain valuable skills such as leadership, communication and organisation by mentoring their peers. A driving factor behind my involvement with peer support is that PASS gives students the opportunity to actively influence their environment and see their ideas develop and come into being. For instance, during my second year at university, I felt like peer support resources for second year students would be helpful. So, last year, as a coordinator, I pioneered a mentoring project for second year students and together with my fellow coordinators we even got an ‘Outstanding Contribution Award’ for our efforts!”