#Herts Heroes: Student Ambassadors
Lucy Balchin tells us more about our student ambassadors and how they have been adapting to the current situation.
Meet the teamHead over to our YouTube playlist to meet some of our student ambassadors and what they get up to!
A Special Thanks to Godson SadoGodson Sado is one of our Senior Student Ambassadors who has worked with us for many years now! It has been a pleasure watching him start as an ambassador, gain more confidence in all his roles and progress to a Senior Student Ambassador.
I know that I can speak on behalf of the entire Student Recruitment team to say that when you heard that Godson was booked onto one of your events you were always very relieved! Sadly, Godson is leaving us this week as he has finished his studies at UH.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Godson for his hard work, professional attitude and being the prime example of a fantastic student ambassador. He has always been a pleasure to work with and we will be sad to lose him from the ambassador programme!
The role of a Student AmbassadorStudent Ambassadors are current Herts students who help to promote and grow the University of Hertfordshire brand, through working across the University at our student recruitment events. They aim to raise the profile of the University amongst students, parents and teachers, whilst encouraging them that Herts is the place to study.
Prospective students want to hear real life stories about what life is really like at UH, so the Student Ambassadors are a crucial part of the student recruitment team and the success of our events.
We currently have 315 student ambassadors. Within this we have 30 ambassadors who are specifically trained to work on Unibuddy, answering questions on our online chat platform as well as writing blogs and recording vlogs.
Our Student Ambassadors work on various jobs around the University but mainly support at Student Recruitment events such as:
- Undergraduate Open Days
- Postgraduate Events
- Taster Days and Campus Tours
- Degree Apprenticeship events
- UCAS Fairs
- Admin, blogs, vlogs and other content
Impact of COVID-19The Student Ambassador team consists of myself (Lucy Balchin) and James Linley. We have worked hard over the past year to create a simple booking process for all University staff, a smooth booking system for our student ambassadors and really improve on communications with our ambassadors. We have worked to improve the training we offer them so that the ambassadors can provide support to all schools across the University.
The impact of COVID-19 has meant that a lot of our booked events were cancelled. The first hurdle was when the March open day was cancelled with 24 hours’ notice due to government guidance. We had to quickly let all 150 ambassadors booked for this event and ensure that they had all received the message and understood not to turn up to work and the reason why. We then had to continue to cancel all event bookings for other events that had been scheduled.
Moving onlineWe have now moved lots of our events online which means we have/had a lot more digital events that require ambassador support. For example, they have been supporting on live virtual events, writing blogs and recording vlogs. Although the on-campus events have stopped we have found that the bookings have continued and are increasing more as time goes on. We are now busy booking ambassadors onto work to support at Clearing.
Moving timesheets online though was not an easy task. Ambassadors previously filled in paper timesheets which were then checked and signed by numerous people across the team in the office before being processed by payroll. This can be a complex and lengthy process when managing over 300 students. We worked with HR and payroll to adapt to the new processes and now have a regular payment process in place.
We would also rely on ambassadors bringing us their timesheets into the office or academics posting them to us in the internal mail. However, now everything is done over email, we have to send a lot of reminder emails to ambassadors who have worked for us, to ensure they are paid on time!
One problem that we found, was that our Unibuddy trained ambassadors were being offered a lot of work as they specialise in working remotely on online content. For this reason, we are now offering all student ambassadors the online work and providing additional training where necessary.
Keeping positiveI think a lot of positive things will come out of this for the student ambassador programme.
We are in the process of creating a team of ambassadors who want to help with writing blogs and vlogs for the website and offering them additional training.
We’d like to expand the digital/online work more in the future to include those willing to record podcasts, provide interviews, and any other new ideas that come in from across the University. We’d like to look at ways in which ambassadors can support school specific recruitment online too.
The Unibuddy platform, managed by Juliette Perks, continues to be a great success and we are looking forward to supporting that more and getting more ambassadors on board.
The main new approach to our work will be when we are able to move to electronic timesheets in the near future. This will substantially help our team and something, (sadly) we are very excited about happening!
If you have any questions regarding the Student Ambassador Programme, please contact myself or James at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.