Welcome to the LIFT OFF Volunteer team

Welcome to the LIFT OFF Volunteer team! We are a small but mighty bunch who are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of Higher Education students. 

Higher Education or HE is any course rated SCQF Level 7 or above, so starting at HNC or 1st year of University. 

Our student volunteers are vital to the work we do at LIFT OFF. You will have the opportunity to support our experiential events and in school programme. This will not only count towards your volunteering hours but will also allow you to gain valuable experience, develop your skills & inspire the young people we work with! 

The sections below aim to give you a selection of tools to use when you volunteer with us. If you have any questions, or would like more specific support please contact the volunteer coordinator. 

LIFT OFF delivers the Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP) within Fife and Tayside, as part of the National Schools Programme funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

We are a widening access initiative that supports young people from local secondary schools into Higher Education; that’s any course from a HNC to a Degree. We work with S3 – S6 pupils throughout Fife, Dundee and Angus.

We have a limited number of core pupil places per school (roughly between 15-30) and we ask Guidance Teachers to help select pupils to join the programme. The selection criteria is based on many factors but our main priority is that pupils have the ability to transition into Higher Education after school. Many of the young people we work with may lack the confidence or inspiration to go on to Higher Education. 

Pupils who register with the LIFT OFF programme can engage in activities in S4, S5 & S6. 

LIFT OFF Journey to Higher Education

We also offer Tier 1 schools additional sessions with S3 pupils who have not yet joined the LIFT OFF Programme. 

While we want to engage you as a volunteer as often as we can, some engagements are not suitable to allow volunteering, please check the volunteer hub for activities to get involved in now! 

LIFT OFF is currently undergoing a programme expansion to extend our reach. However we currently are engaged in the following schools: 

Table indicating school tiers in Dundee, Angus & Fife

LIFT OFF has provided support to its schools on a tiered basis with the level of support offered to each school being dependent on its tier. The allocation of schools to tiers is based on several measures including progression rate data and attainment figures.

Tier 1 schools receive the most support from LIFT OFF. 



Here is the contact information for key members of the LIFT OFF Team, if you would like more info about us; visit About Us page.

Headshot of Helen King

Helen King

Volunteer Co-ordinator & First Aider


07971 361735

Headshot of Melissa Rooks

Mel Rookes

Child Protection Lead


07854 681884

First Aiders

Profile of Shauntelle Islam, woman with long black hair wearing sunshine yellow top.
Headshot of Melissa Rooks
Image of Development Worker Shaunie

Shauntelle Islam

07854 681760 

Mel Rookes

07854 681884

Shaunie Anderson

07854 681 874

Your Motivations

Volunteering is a great outlet, regardless of where you are in your education or career. Volunteering can provide skills development, new experiences and hopefully fun! Generally speaking, the more you put into volunteering the more you can get back from it. 

Below are some motivations you might have for volunteering with LIFT OFF (or elsewhere), consider what is important to you. Note this down and discuss it with the volunteer coordinator at your next meeting. We want to make volunteering a valuable experience for you! 

Communicating with Young people

Communicating with young people can be daunting, especially if you have never done it before. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to be experts on your first  session. It takes time to develop these skills! 

In the classroom...

Introduce yourself and what you are doing there

“Good afternoon everyone. My name is… I am a student volunteer with LIFT OFF. I study…”

Keep the pupils on task by issuing clear instructions 

“I need you to… using materials X, Y & Z, then listen to me. Thank you.” 

Keep the pupils on task by issuing clear instructions 

“Thank you for your contributions during the last task. Now I need you to listen carefully to this additional information. Bearing that in mind, let’s discuss…”

“We have had some very good discussion about… this afternoon. I hope you have enjoyed today and learnt a bit more about… The bell will go in a few minutes, so please pack up your things and return materials to the front. Thanks for taking part today!”


A few young people enter the room in an unruly manner, jostling and pushing each other, they all try to sit at the same desk at the back of the room

Good afternoon everyone. There are seats over here if there is no more space at the back, let's get ready quickly

Make it clear what they need to do.
Two young people are chatting loudly during a presentation, when challenged they argue "We were just asking what page we are on"

Robert & Ayesha, if you are stuck please put your hand up to ask me

Offer them a solution to the problem!
Some resources are knocked onto the floor near Callum's desk. Callum says "I didn't drop them"

Callum, could you help me and pick up those papers and put them on this desk

Try to stay positive!
A pupil, Ian, starts shouting at another- you have no idea why. Ian tried to explain what the other pupil did

Ian I can see you are annoyed but I need you to focus. Do you need any help with the task?

Redirect attention away from the situation and onto a task.

Active Listening

Ask Open Questions

Who - What - Where - When - Why

By using questions like this you can stimulate conversation by getting the younger person to fill out their answer and you will find out more about them as a result.


Sometimes people can gloss over important information. Questions like "Tell me more about that" will get them to clarify the point for you.


Once the young person has finished talking, paraphrase what they said and repeat it back to them. This shows you have been listening and understand what they are communicating

Words of encouragement

Encouraging the young person to continue while they are talking is often the best thing to do. "Go on" "I see" "Absolutely" can give the young person some additional confidence to engage.


Repeating back a word of a phrase can encourage people to go on and expand their thoughts


Once the young person has finished, you need to show that you have been listening by reacting. Try to keep your reaction positive and relevant to them.

Engagement Techniques

Young people can be difficult to engage with! Sometimes they can be disinterested,  distracted or just struggling to get going during events! This is totally normal and not your fault- even the most experienced in the LIFT OFF team can struggle to engage with kids sometimes. 

Below are a few examples of techniques we use to get the young people more motivated to engage in sessions. If you find engagement difficult, why not try these techniques out: 

Puzzled Listener

Question mark in gold circle
  • Act as if you do not know anything about the task
  • Pose questions to the young people or person
  • Be mindful not to over ask (keep it simple)
  • Allow them some thinking time,  at least 3-5 seconds.
  • Pause - Prompt- Praise

    Thumbs up in gold circle
  • Giving thinking time and opportunities for re-thinking or re-stating an idea: “Can you tell us again?”
  • Give verbal encouragement: “Great, well-done, ok etc” 
  • Probe for more if they sound like they are on the right track: “Why do you think that… What if… How do you know…”
  • Give positive feedback that is personal and specific: “That is an interesting answer [Name]… Thank you for sharing…” 
  • Think - Pair - Share

    tick in gold circle
    • Pose questions to the whole group or class
    • Pair up the pupils into smaller groups
    • Allow them some time to discuss
    • Bring the conversation back to the whole class and ask each group to contribute their thoughts


    Regardless of age, everyone can feel anxious or nervous when speaking to new people- consider situations where you have felt nervous and bear this in mind when working with young people! 

    In our experience, we have found icebreaker activities defuse the tension when working with young people and help’s establish connections between you, as a student volunteer, and their peers. 

    Below are some good practice and example icebreakers. 

    Good Practice

    Icebreakers should cover the three following things 

    1. Introductions- remember to introduce yourself including your name, what you do at H.E, where you are from, what you are going to do. 
    2. Remove any awkwardness- it often helps to keep the icebreaker silly and casual to get over any nerves. 
    3. Learning pupils’ names- This is key to allow you to talk directly to them & it shows that you are taking an active interest in what the pupil has to say which supports engagement. 

    Quick Line-up

    Split the class into two groups (aim for groups of 8-10)

    Have the pupils line up in order of…

  • Alphabetical by mum’s first name
  • Height, shortest to tallest
  • Date of birthday, starting with the current month
  • Any other order you can think of
  • Fastest group to line up, wins the challenge!

    Find Three

    1. Split group into small teams (Try to avoid friends sticking together)
    2. Participants need to say one fact about themselves
    3. The aim is to try to find 3 things that the group all have in common
    4. The more unusual the 3 things the better! 



    SCQF Leveling framework

    Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework maps qualification levelling
    This provides context to the level of learning pupils are currently engaged in and the future routes they could take
    Interactive Framework

    Reference request

    LIFT OFF are happy to provide references for our volunteer team!
    Contact the volunteer Coordinator to arrange a reference
    Contact us!

    Social Media Working Policy

    LIFT OFF have created a working policy to support the use of social media posting
    Please note this is a living document, please make sure you check it regularly.
    View the policy

    Pupil Selection Criteria

    This document outlines what pupils LIFT OFF work with
    To best target pupils who need LIFT OFF support, a pupil selection criteria was developed to align with HEI contextual markers.
    Click Here


    LIFT OFF will pay for agreed out of pocket expenses
    Contact the volunteer coordinator for an expense form and return it by 10th of the month
    Contact us!

    Success Stories