The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) is a national scheme. It is the brainchild of the author and broadcaster Simon Singh who was concerned with the decline in the numbers of those studying science, technology and mathematics in schools and universities.
The scheme was started in 2002, with the aim of developing a generic academic module (and supporting materials) that would place university students studying these shortage subjects directly into the school classroom, thereby simultaneously providing active classroom help whilst gaining important transferable skills and earning academic credit towards their degree, and providing positive role models for the school pupils in difficult subjects.
The School of Mathematics and Statistics (SoMaS) began the scheme at the University of Sheffield in the academic year 2005/06. Experience shows that classroom-based courses, such as the UAS, have tremendous all-round benefits (to schools, school pupils, university students and the universities themselves). Because of these benefits, UAS is currently making strenuous efforts to promote the scheme nationally.
Whilst the scheme clearly provides a useful "taster" for those considering teaching as a career, it is not only intended for such students - all students, regardless of their intended careers, can potentially benefit from the UAS. Experience has shown that students gain enormously in self-confidence from this module - which is of huge value to first-time job-seekers.
To summarise, the UAS provides direct support for schools in the difficult subjects, provides university students with an extremely challenging practical experience which counts towards their degree, provides positive role models for school pupils and lastly, but not least, it enhances the relations between schools and the university in the local community.