Become a Welcome Buddy

Being a Welcome Buddy is a fantastic way for you to welcome and support new students in their transition to higher education.

Welcome Buddies volunteer their time to welcome and support new students as they make the transition to life as a Keele student, and ongoing throughout the first academic year as needed. By sharing your own experiences and listening to your mentees' concerns you can help to make their start at Keele a great one.

As a Welcome Buddy, you will help to make a difference to the experience of new students, whilst making new friends and developing transferable skills.

For the 2021/22 academic year the scheme will focus on offering targeted and personalised support to students who are underrepresented in higher education. We aim to recruit a team of approximately 20-25 buddies.

Please see the required knowledge, experience, skills and qualities detailed in the tabs below to find out more about what we are looking for and to support your application.

Any questions? Please get in touch with us on buddy@keele.ac.uk

The scheme faciliates peer to peer support for new undergraduates. The name 'buddy' has been selected in replacement of the previous 'mentor' schemes in recognition of the role being more focused on social support and signposting, rather than providing academic mentoring or coaching.

Welcome Buddies will carry out the following duties:

  • Attend a compulsory training session.
  • Provide support and guidance to new incoming students via email and other communication methods pre-arrival and during the first academic year.
  • Attend and help to facilitate up to 4 support sessions throughout the academic year.
  • Provide accurate and timely information and advice.
  • Signposting students to appropriate University support services where required.
  • Referring specific concerns to Student Services where these relate to a student being at risk of harm.
  • Inform the support team as soon as possible if a student drops out of the scheme.
  • Complete regular activity logs and contribute to evaluation of the scheme.
  • Follow the Code of Conduct and all other student conduct policies.

As a Welcome Buddy you will need knowledge and experience in the following areas:

  • An understanding of the different challenges faced by new undergraduate students.
  • Knowledge about the university and ability to answer questions about life at Keele.
  • An interest in supporting new students.
  • An understanding of confidentiality policy and processes.
  • Awareness of different social, cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Knowledge of systems and staff contacts within your School.

We do not expect buddies to:

  • Do and know everything. But they should be able to refer on to the right place!
  • Counsel or advise students. Instead, they should be aware of university support services and be able to direct students to them as necessary.

A Welcome Buddy will have the following skills and qualities:

  • A positive, welcoming role model and ambassador of the Keele University community.
  • Friendly and approachable with good interpersonal skills.
  • Able to communicate effectively and listen to mentee concerns.
  • Pro-active and flexible approach to the role.
  • Problem solving skills to answer student queries.
  • Good organisation and time management skills.
  • Non-judgemental and committed to equality of opportunity for all.

The benefits being a Welcome Buddy include:

  • Record of the role on your HEAR.
  • Gain volunteer hours which count towards Students' Union Volunteering Awards.
  • Meet a diverse range of students within the university.
  • Gain essential graduate skills including leadership, self-motivation, communication and interpersonal skills and group facilitation and organisation skills to enhance your CV.
  • Employment references from Student Services on successful completion of the scheme.
  • Make a positive contribution to the University and student community.

All buddies who are sucessfully recruited through the application process will complete a compulsory training session which will provide them with the information and skills they need for their role, through exploration of a range of scenarios and role plays relating to student transition and experience.

Welcome Buddies represent Keele and follow a code of conduct to ensure a quality provision for new students. As part of the training, they are also made aware of what they can’t and shouldn’t do within the role, and also where to refer students onto more appropriate support as required.

For the 2021/22 academic year, buddy training will be delivered through an online programme.

How do I apply?

Complete the application form available at the link below.

When is the closing date?

Applications to be a Welcome Buddy for the 2021/22 academic year will close on Thursday 22 July at 09:00.

When will I find out if I am successful?

The Student Support team will review all applications and will respond to all applicants during the week commencing 26 July. 

When will training take place?

A compulsory training session will be delivered to successful candidates through remote learning. Students will be given a one week period to complete the mandatory training activities, and will be given advance notice of this. The date is TBC, however this will take place in August. The training activities will take students approximately 3 hours to complete.

Who can I contact if I have any further questions?

If you need any further information about the scheme, or experience any difficulties with the application form then please don't hesitate to get in touch on buddy@keele.ac.uk