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The Role Models Project 


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Sign up to volunteer in Spring 2020

Elective Module Pages

Video made by students in 2016

Video made by the university in 2017

Video made by Community 21 in 2018

Article by the university in 2018

Role Models Project Facebook page




Emily on emily.d@sussexstudent.com (for all things elective module or overall project related)

Al on al.c@sussexstudent.com (for all things volunteering programme related)

07895450117 / 07719922158

Come and see Emily or Al in the Role Models Project Office, room 134, first floor of Falmer house




“It was a great experience, really engaging and interesting hear to the sort of questions young people want to discuss. Surprised by how organic the conversation with the young people turned out to be and I learnt a lot about myself as well.”

- Role Models Project volunteer



“Role models helped me to win an internship position as an ambassador to a great charity. It demonstrated skills of public speaking and planning, and also demonstrated my motivation and commitment to helping others.”

 - Role Models Project Volunteer



A student and a role model discussing a paper



“They have things to say but sometimes don't have the space to do it but I hope we provided that to them."

 - Role Models Volunteer



“With university students, the good thing is they’ve either just been through it or they’re still going through the same things that you are. They have an idea [of] what it’s like and what we’re going through.”

- Young person



Students and role models sitting on the floor discussing papers



“Helped me get a role in a youth club and feel a lot more confident in my own skills/knowledge to use in applications as example of being able to critically reflect on things that work/haven’t worked. Also feel more able to open up to others about things like mental health and body image because they can usually relate to what you’re going through.”

- Role Models Project volunteer



“It’s an hour that we can speak to someone and just clean your mind. I always leave in a good mood ... I’ve cleared my mind and asked about things I didn’t know.”

- Young person



Student and a role model sitting on a table discussing papers



“It's been great because I felt empowered and encouraged to lead some workshops, or even training sessions at times. With these workshops, you get what you put in .... I like challenging young minds and I like challenging myself.”

 - Role Models Project volunteer




A group of young people

The Role Models Project is a peer-led mentoring project, that trains Sussex students in participatory facilitation to create and deliver workshops in local schools.

The idea is to create a safe and supportive space for young people to feel comfortable exploring topics within PSHE; such as mental health and wellbeing, digital technology and social media, body image and self esteem, gender and sexuality, masculinity, race and discrimination, healthy relationships and consent. Rejecting the conventional model of education where the teacher is the unquestioned source of knowledge, the workshops are framed around active engagement, discussion and collective learning, with the view of learning from the young people as much as they might learn from volunteers.

Aiming for a 1-to-1 ratio of Sussex students to young people and designing activities using different learning styles in small groups, we create a relatable environment where young people can have the confidence to express their views and feelings around the topics. The aim is to empower students to think critically about the world around them and to equip them with tools to better deal with issues that arise.

In its five years of existence, the Role Models Project has evolved as volunteers input their own life experiences and understanding of the world into the focus of the workshops. It’s an opportunity to share ‘what you wish you had known’ when growing up to make a change to younger members of our community in Brighton & Hove.

We are looking for people who are enthusiastic about what the project does, passionate about making a difference in the education of young people around personal, social and political issues, and willing to work in a way that respects people’s differences.

Come along to our termly Open Forum Taster event on 29th January 6-8pm in the Meeting House for an introduction to the project, facilitated discussions around what you wish you'd known when you were younger, and pizza!

A group of young people sitting on the floor talking, some wearing uniform

There are two ways you can get involved.

Take the elective

If you’re in your first or second year, you can sign up to one or both of our elective modules from the school of Education and Social Work: ‘Discovering Role Models’ in the Autumn term and ‘Developing Role Models’ in the Spring. Both 15 credit modules combine the theory and practice of social pedagogy, peer learning and creative participatory facilitation.

You can read more about the modules here under ‘Additional Undergraduate Electives’

Or contact Emily for more information emily.d@sussexstudent.com

To sign up to ‘Discovering Role Models’ (Autumn 2019) and/or ‘Developing Role Models’ (Spring 2020), just choose them on Sussex direct when you pick your options, or if you want to switch to either of these electives contact your school administrator.

There are still spaces on the Discovering Role Models elective for this coming Autumn term!!!


A group of young people observing papers on a wall

Volunteer - To sign up to volunteer for Spring 2020, please complete this form by 3rd February.

Why volunteer?

- Engage with young people and make a meaningful impact in your local community 

- Be part of a pioneering alternative education project: question the way we learn and develop and practice new ways of learning.

- Be the person you needed when you were younger: actively listening to young people and supporting their needs and their growth.

- Bring your own life experience and ideas as valuable tools for collective learning.

- Receive a full 6 weeks of training for the role.

- Increase confidence, communication skills and public speaking in a safe environment.

- Meet new people and become part of a close community of volunteers with regular social events.

- Gain experience working as part of a team to create and deliver workshops.

- Gain experience working with young people in secondary schools.

- Concrete experience for your CV - we can provide you with a reference.

- A certificate on completion of the programme.

- A free DBS check - which you can use for other jobs if you sign up to the government’s update service.

- Links to other opportunities related to young people, facilitation and the local community: e.g. volunteers delivered a workshop at a local gender conference in summer 2018.

- Access to our library of books relating to PSHE and alternative education.


What does it involve?

As a Role Models Project volunteer you will complete six training sessions, covering teamwork, core facilitation skills, workshop creation, working with young people and safeguarding & child protection. Receiving the full course of training is important not only to equip you with the skills required to create workshops and engage with young people through our alternative approach but also because as a group you will get to know each other and develop your shared aims and values that will shape the workshops. In any case, where you have to miss a session (life happens!), we can arrange catch-up sessions or can come to some other arrangement - but this is your responsibility to let us know.

Over the academic term, we will deliver six workshops in 2 different schools with 13-15-year-olds. These will be on Wednesdays and Fridays; the times are yet to be confirmed with the schools. As a volunteer, you will sign up to either the Wednesday workshop or the Friday workshop; the different days will hopefully ensure everyone has a chance to take part. We're aiming to get the times finalised before we start training so that you know you can definitely attend one of the days before starting the programme. Before each workshop, you’ll need to attend a run-through and you can attend an optional development session (see ‘Time commitment’ and Calendar).  

After the final workshop in each school, there will be an opportunity to reflect on your journey as a volunteer and a social to celebrate the amazing work you have done! 


Time commitment (relevant to Spring 2020):

Weeks 2-6:

- 13 hours training over 5 weeks on campus: 5 sessions on Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm, and one 3-hour Safeguarding and Child Protection training delivered by Safety Net.

Week 8 onwards:

- Weekly 2-hour workshop development sessions (Monday afternoons): the opportunity to create the workshops using your experiences and all the resources the project has collected over its years - not compulsory to attend this in order to attend the workshop.

- Weekly 1-hour run-throughs of the workshops: for you to learn the workshop and agree with other volunteers how you want to facilitate it - making it your own! *these are the hour before the workshop, but can make alternative arrangements if there are timetable clashes!

- Weekly workshops in schools (Wednesdays and Fridays): 3-4 hours including transport from Sussex uni to the school and back, and a short time for feedback and reflection after each workshop.


Calendar for Spring 2020 

Role Models Project Calendar 2020 2


Main responsibilities:

- Attend the training or take responsibility for catching up any that you miss

- Complete availability forms for workshop delivery, keep track of the workshop delivery days you have signed up for and plan your time accordingly.

- In the workshops you sign up for, support young people in their personal development and empower them to think critically about the world around them.

- Respect confidentiality, unless you feel that a young person is at risk to themselves or others, in which case follow safeguarding procedures (you will be trained fully on this!).

- If unable to fulfil a commitment made, such as delivering a workshop, to give as much notice as possible to the Role Models Project Assistant.

- To maintain ongoing communication with the Role Models Project Assistant, and to discuss with them if you are having any problems with the project. They are here to support you!

- Because of the nature of this role, all volunteers will be subject to a DBS check (paid for by the project).


Reasonable adjustments:

-Training will take place in Jubilee Building, for which full accessibility information can be found on the Accessable website.

- We are getting full accessibility information from the schools and we can arrange alternative transport to get there.

- Although the nature of the project does require a considerable amount of attendance in person, we can be flexible with some sessions if coming into university is not possible. For example, we arrange weekly catch-up sessions for the training, we can organise virtual or phone catch-ups for training and run-throughs, and you can contribute to workshop content virtually.

- We want to remove as many barriers to learning and being involved as possible. Based on feedback from the last term, we will be including more visual aids in our training, and we welcome any suggestions of how we can be more accessible.

- Assistance with filling out the application form is available.

- For any of the above and further queries, please contact Al at al.c@sussexstudent.com



Transferable skills


Verbal and Written Communication


Problem Solving

Active Listening



Time management

Decision making





Public Speaking

Cultural awareness


To sign up to volunteer for Spring 2020, please complete this form by 3rd February.

If you have any questions, you can visit Al or Emily in the Role Models Project office (room 134 on the first floor of Falmer House), email us at al.c@sussexstudent.com / emily.d@sussexstudent.com or call 07895450117 / 07719922158.