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Students socialising.

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 within each college, department or division, which might include trained Peer Supporters and the trainer/ supervisor. Each institutional member has their own unique application process.
  • Please speak to someone in senior welfare and/ or a trained peer supporter if you are interested in the training and becoming a Peer Supporter.
  • Colleges, departments and divisions train once per academic year in different terms, as it is helpful to train as a group. Sometimes you can train outside the standard provision if the college, department or division agrees to fund your space and supports your application in terms of emotional and academic resilience.
  • To find out when your college, department or division trains, please see the Training Term Card for Peer Support Training.
  • Promotion and recruitment happen in the term before the training.
  • If successful, you will be sent an email with our booking system details and some demographic data which will help us contact you, record your preferences for membership to certain additional groups and record anonymised inclusivity and diversity information.
  • 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 you must 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 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).
  • Peer Supporters are expected to meet regularly with their College/ Departmental/ Divisional welfare teams to further embed Peer Support in the welfare provision and to improve communication which is essential in any welfare structure. This is also part of the commitment Peer Supporter must undertake.
  • The Peer Support Training is about enhancing the College/ Departmental/ Divisional welfare and well-being community as well as helping individual students. How Peer Support is used and embedded in Colleges/ Departments/ Divisions will be up to you and your communities, including collaborating with senior members of welfare. Together with your Welfare Team, Peer Support Team, Peer Support Supervisor/ Trainer and Designated Link Person (DLP, usually the senior member welfare lead), you can make an incredible impact within your community.

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 when they train
  • Condensed training options available
  • Training is either in-person or virtual, it cannot be blended in provision


  • Welfare representatives
  • Current students in colleges, departments or divisions that are members of the Peer Support Programme, please see who is a member of the Peer Support Programme
  • Students can be undergraduate or postgraduate


  • 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
  • Or you can contact the Peer Support Programme [email protected]


  • 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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