Student Leaders

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Student Leaders

Join our StartSmart Community this summer!

LEAPS are looking for enthusiastic university students who are enjoying their university studies and are looking for a rewarding, part-time/casual paid position, working with young people in July.

The primary function of each Student Leader is to support and encourage students during the LEAPS StartSmart programme (8 - 19 July 2019). On StartSmart, students will have the chance to experience undergraduate-level study, learn key academic skills required at university and meet new friends in a welcoming and supportive environment. The aim is to help school leavers gain confidence and get university-ready before they begin.  Students will get the chance to test drive a ‘subject stream’ of their choice and work at first year undergraduate level, with teaching delivered by academics from local universities. They will also undertake a compulsory course in Academic Skills to prepare them for degree-level study by introducing them to themes such as critical thinking, finding academic resources, using evidence (referencing), presentation skills, using feedback and academic writing. A social and support programme will run throughout StartSmart to encourage a well-rounded transition for school leavers to university.

 LEAPS Student Leaders will perform the following tasks:

  • assist with teaching and learning in Academic Skills sessions
  • assist with the social programme
  • facilitate subject-specific ‘project time’ sessions for students, in collaboration with fellow Student Leaders
  • help students become familiar with the university library and research methods
  • support students on the completion of their coursework
  • assist and lead the Student Support programme as required
  • support LEAPS social media communications throughout StartSmart
  • participate in the StartSmart celebration event (19 July) at the end of the programme

Resident Assistant(s)

As part of the residential component to the programme, up to 15 students will be staying in self-catered university flats. As a result, at least one member of the Student Leader team will supplement their role with Resident Assistant duties. Resident Assistants will be based on the same site as the students, in a separate, self-contained flat. RA duties will entail:

  • light-touch supervisory/ on-call duties during the evenings; resident pupils are between 17 and 18 years old
  • there will be some weekend evening obligations (12-14 July) with at least two nights off per week

In return, RAs will be provided with accommodation free of charge throughout the duration of StartSmart. There is accommodation for up to 3 RAs, so it is possible that this role will be divided between 2 or 3 individuals. Please state on your application if you would be prepared to fulfil the additional  RA role.



We will only appoint individuals who can guarantee availability for all of the following sessions:

  • Wednesday 3 July, 09.00-17.00 for training
  • Various morning and evening shifts from 8 to 12 July. Please see below for example shifts.
  • Various morning and evening sessions from 15 to 17 July. Please see below for example shifts.
  • All day (09.30-19.30) Thursday 18 July and Friday 19 July
  • RAs will also need to be available for a (paid) training session before moving into accommodation

In order to be a Student Leader you should:


  • be entering Year 3 or above of full time university study (undergraduates preferred but Masters students will be considered)
  • be performing well in your academic studies (e.g. averaging 60% or above) 
  • believe in the value of higher education
  • believe in the value of academic skills
  • be positive, energetic and outgoing
  • be able to grasp information quickly and put it into action
  • show initiative when required
  • have the ability (and enthusiasm) to work with 17-18 year olds, not all of whom will automatically see the value  of StartSmart
  • be reliable, trustworthy and punctual
  • be supportive of the values, aims and objectives of LEAPS


  • have some experience of working with young people in an educational role
  • have some experience of volunteering or working with widening participation programmes
  • in the RA role, previous experience would be beneficial (training will be provided regardless)

In order to become a Student Leader you will also need to provide evidence of the following experience, skills and qualities:

  • academic record so far at university (we will request an academic referee)
  • strong oral communication skills, in particular an ability to speak clearly and confidently and to lead a group in discussion
  • competent academic writing skills
  • the ability to work effectively as part of a team, in particular a willingness to listen and learn from others
  • good organisational and time management skills

How we appoint the Student Leader team

Once we are satisfied that an applicant has provided evidence of the necessary experience, skills and qualities to be an effective Student Leader we consider how this candidate might help us meet the requirements of the wider Student Leader team. In order to effectively support the body of StartSmart students, our team of up to 4 Student Leaders should represent the following:

  • current students from Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt, Queen Margaret or Stirling Universities (as these are the most common destinations for LEAPS students). We will, however, consider applications from current students of any university.
  • an even split (where possible) of students from Arts/Humanities, Social Science & Creative Industry AND from STEM subject areas
  • individuals from a range of backgrounds

As we aim to recruit students from across a range of institutions and subjects, it is unlikely that we will recruit two Student Leaders from the same academic field (and in particular from the same subject at the same university). 

Please also be aware that having attended the LEAPS Summer School as a student is not a pre-requisite for this post (in fact we place much greater weight on students who have contributed as LEAPS volunteers, or to a similar widening access programme). When considering applications we give additional credit to those who have gained valuable experience by having participated in widening participation programmes, or other education-related work with young people.

Contract and payment
You will be employed on a Casual Worker Agreement. We can only hire you if you provide evidence of your eligibility to work in the UK. As the role constitutes regulated work with children under the PVG Scheme, we require satisfactory completion of a PVG Scheme Application (or Existing Scheme Member Update) which will be carried out by LEAPS prior to starting the role.
Payment will be at £10.81/hour for the work detailed below, with a minimum payment of £162.15 for, for a minimum number of 15 hours per week. The weekly and hourly commitment will be as follows:

Pre-Summer School
Training, 7 hours (3 July)

Week 1 (8 to 12 July)

Shifts will be spread across 5 days (Monday to Friday), with a minimum of 15 hours.

Example Shifts: 09.30 - 13.00, 16.00 - 19.30

Week 2 (15 to 19 July)

All Student Leaders must be available all day (09.30 – 19.30) on 18 and 19 of July, with other shift(s) on Monday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday, a minimum of 15 hours.

Example Shifts: 09.30 - 17.00, 9.00 - 13.00, 16.00 - 19.30

How to apply to be a Student Leader

Please read the details and specifications fully and then apply using the form below, uploading a covering letter indicating why you are interested in being a Student Leader and what you could bring to the role. 

The closing date for applications is 12 noon, Thursday 9 May 2019
All applicants will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt (by e-mail) on 13 May. We will then invite shortlisted interviewees to attend an interview and will respond to all applicants by the end of May.


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Questions about the Student Leader role?
If you have any questions about being a Student Leader, or would like to talk through what the role involves in more detail, please don't hesitate to contact Richard or Laura in the LEAPS team on