Support for Advocates

AUA office support


The AUA provide a dedicated point of contact for Advocate and Networks support.

The AUA Project Officer for Membership and Networks (Matt Maloney) can be a source of knowledge and support, providing ideas, guidance and up to date information. This post manages member and volunteer engagement and is the main link between the AUA office and the Membership.

The AUA Office provides each Network Coordinator with a specified annual budget which can be used to facilitate activities within that Network. As an advocate you can apply to your Network Coordinator for use of this budget.

Working alongside Network Coordinators and advocates the AUA Office will assist in organising network conferences and provide professional development and event management resources to further facilitate such events.

The AUA Office welcomes all feedback. As an Advocate we will regularly ask for your input when we are developing new ideas and projects, but we welcome any other feedback you may have from your members or yourself. Any feedback can be sent directly to

We also want to hear about any successful events, activities or initiatives you’ve run so we can publicise them and share them with your fellow Advocates through this toolkit.

Network Coordinator Support

Network Coordinators are there to lead and manage a team of Advocates particular to their Network. Network Coordinators are your first point of contact and a source of knowledge and advice, and they will provide mentoring support to you in your role as an Advocate.

As an Advocate you can expect Network Coordinators to:

  • Provide opportunities for you to be involved in professional development activities organised within the Network
  • Act as link between you and the National Office by keeping each party informed of ideas, activities, feedback and developments
  • Administer the network budget 

Getting support from your manager

We know it can be difficult to always get management support to be able to undertake the Advocate role – whether that’s time out of the office to attend one of our development sessions or funding to go to a network event. We’ve come up with some good reasons, taken form feedback from members, to help you structure your case.

You can also tailor your arguments to the specific events. For example if there’s going to be a working session on student experience that would be really useful to your role then you can include that, or if we’ll be covering negotiating skills that you would benefit from in your role, as well as an Advocate, then you can include that too.

On being an Advocate

Being an Advocate is one of the opportunities that the AUA offers for personal development and strengthens my sense of professional competence and capability. It provides me with a structure to support me in my development and as a HE professional.

Taking part in this activity will give me the opportunity to look up from desk, take a step back and evaluate myself and my role. This activity will give me the opportunity to audit my skills and competencies that will in turn help me develop a plan to learn new skills and develop existing ones.

On planning events

I have the opportunity to develop a programme of professional development and networking activities here at my own institution.

This benefits the University by breaking down silos that people often find themselves in, increases collaborative working, gives people the opportunity to learn about other areas of the University and their good practice, allows people to expand their own network of contacts and meet new colleagues, and increases the amount of professional development on offer to administrative and managerial staff.

This benefits me as will I will be able to gain experience of event administration, planning, event programme development and marketing. I will be able to develop my organisational and networking skills. It will give me a better understanding and awareness of the wider higher education environment, and I will be able to support others through their professional development.

On attending and presenting at development days (e.g. events, training sessions)

I will have the opportunity to meet other people in my area of work from different HEIs. I will be able to share ideas and good practice and learn from others. This will give me the opportunity to expand my horizons, benefiting both me and the institution.
Presenting at this event will give me the opportunity to be the person that my peers hear from. It will showcase the good practice and case studies that have been happening at our University. It will develop my skills as a presenter and help me to engage with my audience.

On taking part in AUA activities (e.g. committees, publications)

I will be able to contribute to the development and professionalisation of the sector by participating to events committees to events, committees, publications and seminars beyond my own institution.

I am able to experience different organisational cultures, environments and structures that make up the diversity of higher education institutions. It will increase my knowledge of the higher education environment, and develop my understanding and awareness of the issues and challenges we face.

This will give me the opportunity to step back from my role and reflect on what we do well and what we could do better. I will be able to develop my professional expertise and knowledge in this area.