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Perks of being a lifelong learning student ambassador at Warwick

I have been a student ambassador for rather a long time now; my first-time sheet was submitted in July 2016. I have been referred to a ‘Jon who won’t leave’ (not by anyone in the Centre for Lifelong Learning I hasten to add). The reason I have been around so long is that I did the BA degree in Health and Social Policy with the first 2 years college based and the last two years here at Warwick. I then went on to do a MA Degree in the Department of Sociology and now I am still studying in the Institute for Employment Research. Therefore, I am still a bona fide student.

A CLL Stall at Herbert Gallery and Museum

A CLL stall at the Herbert Gallery and Museum that ambassadors put together

I was asked why I became a Student Ambassador, and I could say it was to enhance my CV, or I could say it was to earn money (yes, it is paid) or maybe I could say it is to work with some wonderful people and make some friends, I am still friends with Emma who graduated in 2019 – a year after I did. There are also current students who I am friends with although I do not see them as often as I would like. All the above reasons are good ones but the real reason I became and ambassador is because I am passionate about what CLL does. I think that passions has grown over time and yes, I cannot lie, the money is nice. It provides avenues for mature students like me to gain a degree, something I never thought I would do. Obviously, the Centre is not all about Full Time Social Studies, there are also other degrees available, both full and part time. One of my friends and a student ambassador did a part time History degree. There are also Master’s degrees available as well as PhD’s. These are all things I didn’t know when I started as a student ambassador.

I suppose I should talk about what we do and why I like doing it. Naturally the pandemic and COVID did slow down what we were able to do, but now we are visiting events again. We go out to public events, both big and small. Probably the biggest event I personally have done is the Godiva Festival in Coventry, two long days in the middle of summer where you meet a range of people from all walks of life. I love Godiva, yes, it is hard work, but we talk to hundreds of people, young and old and everything in-between - some will make enquiries, and some will ‘file’ the information for later use (some will simply be after the ‘freebies’ we offer but who knows if that CLL branded highlighter will spark something in someone else. I believe it was here I met Graham who later started a part time degree and is a student ambassador as well. I met people who then did the gateway course and moved on to do a degree. Other events we have been to are Coventry Pride- always a fun filled day, the Leamington Peace Festival- street food to really enjoy. The Earlsdon festival is always good. We have been to the Filongley Show, a huge event in the wilds of North Warwickshire. At all these events there will be several student ambassadors, some working full days and some part days. There are other events where maybe you will be by yourself, such as events in Coventry Library or Further Education colleges, smaller events but just as interesting.

Previous CLL ambassadors at Fargo Village, Coventry

Previous CLL ambassadors at Fargo Village, Coventry

If, like me, you enjoy talking to people and people watching this is a job for you. Yes, some days are long and hard but when you meet someone who has started the degree because of you- it is a great feeling. If you just want to earn a little extra money (usually over the summer months) it is also great. Mostly, you will meet people, talk to people and learn about their lives. You don’t need to be able to sell, a passion for higher education and the opportunities it can present are the main things. Who knew that ‘Food- Critical Perspectives’ could be so interesting and alter the way I think about something so ‘simple’. Your story, or that of a colleague might inspire someone to take the plunge and change their lives. It might not change everyone’s life; they might just be able to follow and interest or learn something new. CLL however, certainly changed my life for the better and I like to pass that story on. One piece of advice is to remember there is a lot more to CLL than the path you are on, but you will be trained on that if you decide to take this opportunity. Come and join us, it really is great fun (and you get paid for your time as well). The University of Warwick is a Living Wage Employer.

About the author

Jon Winfield, current PhD student in Employment Research, alumnus of BA Social Studies at Centre for Lifelong Learning