Student Ambassator A new and exciting initiative, which gives second level students the opportunity to learn about the advantages of getting a third level qualification from those they listen to most, their peers, is being undertaken by third level colleges across Kerry and Limerick.

The Student Ambassador Programme is a collaborative venture with the Shannon Consortium Partners which include the Institute of Technology, Tralee, University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology. The initiative is made possible through funding secured under the Higher Education Authority administered Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).   This Student Ambassador Programme was initially piloted by the University of Limerick Access Office, with full roll-out to the partner institutions completed last year.

The Student Ambassador Programme builds on the recognition that role models are an important element of any young person's life. With this in mind the programme recruits and trains students to become ambassadors for the promotion of higher education. The primary aim of the programme is to raise the aspirations of second-level pupils in disadvantaged schools with regard to their transfer to higher education.

Ambassadors, as role models and as living testament to the fact that it is possible to attend higher education irrespective of your background, visit schools to talk to second-level pupils about life as a higher level student. During these talks, Ambassadors aim to inspire, motivate and encourage second-level pupils to realise their full potential. These visits have been well received by second-level pupils as they can relate to the Ambassadors who are close in age to themselves.

In order to publicly recognise the noble work of these Shannon Consortium Student Ambassadors a reception was recently held for all student ambassadors at the University of Limerick.   Student Ambassadors were presented with Certificates of Recognition signed by the President of each institution. The â¿¿Student Ambassador of the Yearâ¿¿ for each institution included:

David O'Donoghue , Institute of Technology, Tralee

Susan Angley, Limerick Institute of Technology

Amanda Louise Higgins, University of Limerick

IT, Tralee Student Ambassadors for the Academic Year 2008/2009 included:

Nicole Csonka (Tralee), Áine Culloty (Castleisland), David Oâ¿¿Donoghue (Tralee), Kieron Bolt (Fenit, Tralee), Aleksandar Kovac(Tralee) and Helen Oâ¿¿Shea (Killorglin).