Alumni ambassadors go aroving in schools

June 30, 1995

Staffordshire University is running weekend training schools next term for volunteer graduates who want to become recruitment agents visiting schools around the country.

The idea comes from the United States, where volunteer recruitment brigades composed of alumni are marshalled to spread the word about their alma mater.

The weekends build on Staffordshire's experience of using its overseas alumni to help reassure recruits back in their home country about life in Britain.

Serena Bradshaw, university information officer, said: "You cannot just phone alumni up and expect them to go out there. They need videos of the campus and updated propectuses . . . they need to be aware of the developments of the whole institution.

"We also have to weed out those who are inappropriate. They are going to be ambassadors so they need to be trained, which has got to be done in a professional way."

Payment for the alumni ambassadors, which may take the form of generous allowances, has not been ruled out. "Although a lot of people are happy to do this for free as long as their costs are met," said Miss Bradshaw. "You can give them a clothing allowance to make sure they are dressed properly."

But you are actually quite proud to do it - you feel privileged to be asked."

Miss Bradshaw compares the activity to volunteering for charity work.

"If people want to offer their services to their university, helping with recruitment is a benefit to the institution whereby young people can give without giving money."

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