Students enjoying a break in a social space at UWE Bristol

PAL Leaders

PAL Leaders play an important role in supporting students at UWE Bristol. Current students are recruited, trained and paid to run sessions for other students. These sessions help to: ease the transition into Higher Education; adjust to university life; improve study habits; enhance academic/technical understanding; develop employability and CV skills.

Qualities, skills and abilities - what you bring

PAL Leaders will demonstrate all, or most, of the following:

  • reliability, commitment, honesty, empathy, enthusiasm
  • a willingness to approach and be approached by students and staff
  • an interest in people
  • good listening and other communication skills
  • effective self-organisational and time-management skills
  • competence in your course studies.

Benefits - what you gain


  • earn while you learn (currently £8.25 per hour)
  • gain valuable experience in a large organisation
  • connect with students from a variety of course, cultures, backgrounds
  • opportunities to attend PAL conferences and events at a regional/national level, and to network with PAL Leaders from other institutions
  • end-of-term social events.

Personal development

  • transferable skills training and development, including: planning, presentation, facilitation, teamwork, coaching, and leadership
  • increased confidence and credibility as you deliver more PAL sessions
  • enhance your CV - this work could help you get your next job
  • re-confirm your knowledge - you get to revise, practise and reflect on what you learn, and gain a deeper understanding of it
  • opportunity to progress as a Senior PAL Leader offering support to new PAL Leaders.

Awards and recognition

Who can apply and when?

We need current undergraduate and postgraduate students across courses and campuses, at UWE Bristol and Gloucester, to apply to become PAL Leaders.

You can apply anytime, but we process applications from January to April.

Selection and training

PAL Leaders go through a comprehensive recruitment and training programme. This programme takes place in early September. There is an additional selection day in May/June which is compulsory.

Some of the topics covered during the training sessions include:

  • active listening and mentoring
  • intercultural communications
  • group-work and group dynamics
  • management of sessions
  • emotional resilience
  • academic skills
  • reflective practice
  • promotion and recruitment
  • customer service.

In addition, as a PAL Leader you will receive on-going support to help you develop strategies to strengthen interpersonal and leadership skills.

Main duties and responsibilities

Once trained, PAL Leaders tend to work weekly in one-hour slots, for a maximum of three hours per week. There may be variations, depending on your study/course commitments.

As a PAL Leader, you are expected to:

  • attend the initial and follow-up PAL Leader training
  • maintain contact with your PAL Supervisor and Academic/Faculty/Service Co-ordinator
  • liaise with other staff members across services and departments, as required
  • organise, publicise and facilitate regular sessions (mainly) from September to May
  • demonstrate good study habits and learning strategies to students attending sessions
  • facilitate group discussions rather than lecture or complete students' coursework
  • complete regular session plans, a learning journal, and attendance registers
  • gather student feedback about sessions and learning resources - for staff evaluation
  • maintain a professional attitude on issues such as confidentiality, marks, standards and student complaints; as well as health and safety, and feedback.

Staff support

PAL Supervisor and wider PAL team

  • Your PAL Supervisor is the first point of contact.
  • Where appropriate, you will work with the Faculty or Service Coordinator to arrange viewing access to Level 1 modules on Blackboard so you can keep track of what has been covered in class.
  • During the academic year, some sessions will be observed by a Senior PAL Leader or a PAL Supervisor. You will get feedback on your techniques and group management.
  • Your PAL Supervisor will organise access to training materials, forms, stationery and printing for your sessions. Get in touch with them if you need something.
  • The PAL team operates an open-door policy so that PAL Leaders are supported as widely as possible so do visit us. If we're not around, talk to one of our library colleagues who might be able to help, or leave us a message at

Academic/Faculty/Service Co-ordinator

  • Prior to your first sessions, your Co-ordinator will meet and offer guidance, discuss what you might be asked to cover in a session, and may offer suggestions.
  • After this meeting, stay in touch to keep up-to-date and share feedback as students may also suggest topics to cover.

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