Student Training Programme

Developing the leadership capabilities of students in Irish higher education through training has been central to NStEP’s work since the very beginning.  Our Introductory Class Rep Training  module has been the cornerstone of the Student Training Programme, and to date over 4,000 students have participated in the Student Training Programme.  Developed in partnership with sparqs in 2016, it formed the basis for the majority of training opportunities offered up to the spring semester of 2020.  In 2018 NStEP added two variations of its introductory training to the programme. Online Student Rep Training  was developed in partnership with Hibernia College for reps based in online or blended educational environments, and a Postgraduate Taught Student Rep module was piloted across a number of participating institutions.  

NStEP has launched revised Introductory Class Rep Training modules for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Changes include new learning resources and updated content based on an extensive evaluation of past participant feedback and sectoral consultation.  In addition to Introductory Class Rep Training, NStEP is currently building new training options to support students in a variety of contexts. 

Scroll down to learn more about the types of student training we offer

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Introductory Class Rep Training

NStEP has trained thousands of student representatives (class reps) since its training programme was piloted in 2016.  Feedback from participants has consistently highlighted its value, with 99% of class reps trained in 2020/2021 reporting that they would recommend the training to their peers. Originally developed in partnership with  sparqsNStEP has extensively evaluated and revised the content of its Introductory Class Rep Training modules for the 2020-2021 academic year !

Introductory Class Rep Training is best suited to new student representatives, or those who have not completed NStEP training in the past.   Browse the sections below to learn more about this training module.


    Introductory Class Rep Training introduces student representatives to key areas, concepts, and tools that include:

    • A discussion of student engagement and partnership
    • The responsibilities and importance of the class rep role
    • NStEP’s work across the sector and the support / resources it offers for class reps
    • A revised ‘Student Learning Experience’ tool with enhanced emphasis on practical application for class reps
    • Strategies for gathering student opinion and feedback
    • The ABCD of Effective Feedback as a tool for communicating feedback to staff
    • Guidance on how to prepare for and participate in meetings
    • The importance of closing the feedback loop
    Format and Delivery

    In the past NStEP’s team of student trainers travelled to colleges across the country to deliver Introductory Class Rep Traing in person.   Due to to the ongoing situation surrounding the Covid-19 Pandemic all training will be delivered online using zoom until further notice.  Training is led by our team of experienced trainers, and each session will last for 90 minutes.  We strongly recommend that individual training sessions are capped at 25 reps to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in discussions and engage with content.  

    Learning Outcomes

    After completing Introductory Class Rep Training, participants will be able to:

    • Identify and describe student engagement within the context of the class rep role.
    • Describe and discuss the ‘Student Learning Experience’ and its use as a tool for collecting and evaluating feedback.
    • Explain the feedback cycle and discuss methods for gathering, acting upon, and reporting feedback.
    • Outline and apply the ABCD method for communicating effective feedback. 

    NStEP’s Introductory Class Rep Training is fantastic and I can’t recommend it enough. The student trainers are super enthusiastic and try to make the training as engaging as possible, whether it’s by getting people to talk in break-out groups or discussing their own experiences as a class rep. The materials themselves are easy to understand and remember, and come in a variety of forms. Our reps particularly liked the animated video examples, as it broke up the training session and showed great examples of situations reps find themselves in.  As a previous rep myself and as an Education Officer, I’ve taken this training multiple times and I always learn something new!

    Rachael Sarsfield Ryan, Vice President for Education IADTSU

    Feedback from participants:

    The trainers created an atmosphere of trust and really gave the opportunity to not only learn the necessary skills, but also share and further our own (practical) experience.  

    Our trainer was fantastic. I wish my lectures flew as quickly as this training did, an hour and a half felt like no time at all! Great use of engagement, hearing feedback, use of videos and slides. Training was very fluid and information was well laid out and easily understood.

    The training was very insightful.  The same problems other reps shared have come up in my own course and its nice to know my class aren’t alone in trying to find solutions.

    I really enjoyed the training. There was a lot of information shared in a small space of time, and I feel I’ll make good use of what I’ve learned.

    The training was very effective and I look forward to expanding my skills as an academic representative.

    The training was really fun, didnt feel like a typical boring training session. Felt like a good chat with friends!

    I am a Class Rep and was unable to participate in training at my institution/students' union. How can I sign up for Introductory Class Rep Training?

    NStEP is running a number of ‘Open’ Introductory Class Rep Training sessions in February 2021.  Any student representative from NStEP’s 26 participating instituions/SUs may register to attend.  

    To book training for yourself,  please go to

    How can I book Training for class reps at my institution or students' union (for staff/officers)?

    Participating institutions and students’ unions may book Introductory Class Rep Training by contacting

    Click here to read our booking guide


    Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Options

    NStEP offers two types of Introductuctory Class Rep Training:  Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught.  Core content and learning objectives are the same for both modules, but the Postgraduate Taught training is adapted to reflect areas specific to that learning experience.  

    Training for Students Participating in Institutional Reviews / Quality Assurance Processes

    NStEP has a dedicated pool of Student Quality Assurance Reviewers who participate as student QA panel members across a range of QA processes. The QA pool is a partnership between Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

    NStEP also offers  student-led training and briefing sessions for students participating in QA processes, such as CINNTE Institutional Reviews.  This new training option was piloted with IT Carlow in June 2020.

    We are happy to work with institutions participating in NStEP to develop bespoke sessions to support students involved in internal quality assurance processes. To book this training please email to discuss your training needs.  We ask that you email your request at least one week in advance of your preferred training date.  


    Training is tailored to each review process, but typically introduces students to the following key areas, concepts, and tools:

    • A discussion of student engagement and partnership
    • An introduction to quality assurance and quality enhancement, and the role students play in these processes
    • An introduction to the structure of the review process
    • The ‘Student Learning Experience’ as a reflective tool
    • Representing the broader student voice
    • The ABCD of Effective Feedback as a tool for communicating feedback to staff
    • A guest speaker – typically a student who has formerly participated in quality assurance/enhancement processes
    Learning Outcomes

    After completing the student briefing, participants will be able to:

    • Identify and describe student engagement, and how it relates to Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement
    • Describe and consider the Student Learning Experience
    • Outline and apply the ABCD method for communicating effective feedback
    • Consider the experience of student participation in quality review
    Format and Delivery

    Student briefings are peer-led by one of our experienced student trainers.  Due to to the ongoing situation surrounding the Covid-19 Pandemic, all training will be delivered online using zoom.  

    Duration: 90 Minutes

    Training Resources and Materials

    Advanced Class Rep Training

    NStEP is due to begin the process of developing an advanced module for class reps who are returning to the role.  A national pilot, open to reps from across participating institutions, will be announced in due course.

    Postgraduate Research Student Seminars

    NStEP is keen to develop new resources and supports for postgraduate student engagement, especially for postgraduate research students. More details for upcoming seminars will be announced in due course.