More than 26,000 students come from across the city and surrounding areas to study at Edinburgh College each year.
With 96% of successful full-time graduates moving on to work or further study within eight months, it has an enviable reputation for quality FE and HE provision. With 4 campuses spread across the city, the college is one of the largest in Scotland, offering around 700 academic and vocational courses.
Previously, managing records through the application and enrolment process was a major challenge as there were two separate systems in place. This resulted in the duplication of data and mismatches if changes to a student record were not reflected across both systems. Staff had many manual work arounds to meet students’ ever-changing requirements too and the need to re-key information added to the risk of error. The college wanted to overhaul its online application system so that information could be stored in one place, providing a much more joined-up experience for students and making it easier for staff to process applications and enrolments efficiently.
One of the challenges of having multiple applications systems was the time it took to make changes, as Alan Meechan, Development Manager at Edinburgh College, explains, “Previously, we had to wait for an external party to make crucial changes, such as adjustments to an application form or changes to the course handling process. This could cause delays.”
Having a separate system for online applications also meant that information couldn’t be shared easily between key staff within the college, which slowed the student recruitment process down. The college wanted a much slicker experience for students applying online, which would also help staff to work more efficiently to meet their needs. So, Capita was called in to help.
A trusted partner
Capita was mission critical to making the college’s vision a reality. Working closely with UNIT-e Consultant, Tony Butler, the college’s skilled IT development team designed and implemented the UNIT-e online application system, which went live for the 2019/20 admissions cycle.
The new system links directly to the student record system, eliminating the need to manually move data and enabling staff to share information instantly and securely across campuses. This has speeded up the whole enrolment process for students and increased student application numbers. “Both staff and students have been involved in the design of the application system and this was key to the success of the project,” says Alan.
“Tony’s expertise and guidance has helped us get maximum benefit from the new tools available and we’ve seen a positive impact across the college. Before, staff could only collect payments once an applicant’s details had been exported from the old applications system into UNIT-e. Now, payments for course fees and equipment can be processed instantly, so managing cash flow is much simpler.”
Improving the student experience
Now, when a student visits the website, they have access to the latest information and can find and apply for courses quickly and easily via a PC, smartphone or other mobile device. All relevant information is stored in one place too, so staff can process applications more quickly than was possible before, helping to ensure students get an offer of a place sooner and improving their overall experience.