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Peer Support Training


The Peer Support Programme was developed in the early 1990s in recognition of the essential role students play in supporting and encouraging one another on a day-to-day basis throughout their time at university. The Programme seeks to better equip students for this role, enabling them to feel more confident in supporting their peers, working closely with College/ Departmental/ Divisional welfare teams and becoming informed about the range of other professional support networks/ services in order to better signpost peers to them. Since its launch, it has been embraced by University of Oxford reviews as an integral part of its welfare provision.

Application Process

  • There is an application process; Applicants are in part selected by the college, department or division, previously trained Peer Supporters and the trainer/ supervisor
  • Colleges, departments and divisions train once per academic year in different terms
  • To find when your college, department or division trains, please click HERE
  • The term prior to the training an online application portal is created and promoted within the college, department or division
  • The application portal provides information about the training, explains commitment required, gathers demographic information, collects permission from tutor/ supervisor and has various open-ended questions
  • Submission of a successful application will depend on the strength of your application and answers to the open-ended questions, the number of spaces available, the number of other applicants, various diversity and inclusivity factors, your academic resilience as well as your personal resilience
  • The application process might mean getting onto the training, not having a strong enough application or being placed on a (ranked) reserve list
  • If your application is successful, your college, department or division will pay for your place, the training is free for applicants


  • Active listening
  • Assertiveness and assertive communication
  • Boundary setting and management
  • Communication styles including verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Confidentiality
  • Crisis management and prevention
  • Diversity awareness including stereotypes, assumptions, unconscious bias, intersectionality and privilege
  • Integration into collegiate, departmental and divisional welfare
  • Noticing, exploring and reducing assumptions including stereotypes, especially around seeking support
  • Outside of the training, meeting and getting to know your DLPs, Junior Deans and Porters
  • Signposting and referral pathways including wellbeing resources
  • Suicide education
  • The pros and cons of giving advice


  • Can you commit the time to the training and attending the supervisions?
  • Peer Support Training is an extensive course of 24 hours of training, provided by the Student Welfare and Support Services (SWSS)
  • Please consider carefully whether you will be able to commit yourself fully to the training programme, as it is imperative that you attend every session
  • Training is experiential (including the use of self-reflection and personal experiences) and practice-orientated and cannot be caught up on, as the sessions link together
  • This is not a didactic training, rather it involves peer to peer learning that is generated from within the training group
  • Also, regular attendance is essential for group consistency, to build group trust and to help establish confidentiality
  • The commitment to the Peer Support Programme extends to attending one-hour regular supervision sessions; This monitors Peer Supporter wellbeing and ensures the Programme is running smoothly and safely for those involved (including students being supported, Peer Supporters, College/ Department and the Programme generally)

Length and Type of Training

  • Thorough 24-hour training and termly ongoing supervision
  • Experiential learning
  • Standard training rounds occur in 3-hour blocks weeks 1-8 term time, days variable dependent on trainer availability, start time in the afternoons
  • Colleges, departments and divisions train once per year in cohorts at pre-agreed times, please check here when they train
  • Condensed training options available
  • Training is either in-person or virtual, it cannot be blended in provision



  • Paid for by the college, department or division upon successful application; applicants do not need to pay for training
  • £400 for an individual student
  • £1800 for a group six students
  • £3600 for a group of 12 students



  • You can either speak to your college, department or divisional contact, The Designated Link Person (DLP) or trained peer supporters within your college, department or division – click here for details
  • Or you can contact the Peer Support Programme


  • Training locations will always be conveyed and confirmed over email
  • Most in-person training will occur at Student Welfare and Support Services (SWSS)
  • Do contact the Peer Support Programme if you are not sure
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