About Swindon College
Swindon College is a further education college with around 7,000 students. Based in the heart of Swindon, it provides a number of courses primarily in work related areas including hair, beauty, engineering, construction, catering, hospitality, computers, art and design, motor mechanics and more. Courses are on a part or full time basis targeting 14-16 year olds, school leavers, job seekers, adults and businesses. The College provides vocational education and training with opportunities for students to progress to higher education as well as being one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in Wiltshire. The aim of the College is to inspire and support all learners to achieve their best and has seen its success rate rise over the last four years. The College takes into account local needs working pro-actively with employers as well as running a number of courses aimed at the unemployed.
The Business Challenge
Swindon College relies heavily on its website as a means of communicating with students, teachers and other stakeholders acting as a ‘resource hub’ for their growing online community. Following a digital review, Swindon College agreed that their existing website was in need of a complete overhaul as it was out of date, full of irrelevant content, had a number of modules added on and an existing Tribal EBS
(Education Booking System) that was no longer supported. They also wanted to encourage more online enrolments and course applications and recognised the importance of re-structuring the entire website so users could enjoy easy navigation enabling them to search for and purchase courses online. Their existing website required manual downloads of enrolment and other forms which had to then be
completed and posted or emailed to the College which was very time consuming and cumbersome.
The Unified solution
Swindon College were keen to work with a recognised CMS provider with a viable roadmap and wanted to continue using their Microsoft development stack as this is what their internal team had been used to. Having reviewed the College’s goals and objectives, Unified Solutions promoted Kentico as the obvious choice as it ticked all of the boxes in terms of development, features and functionality. This large scale project was split into two parts; part one concentrated on the website development and part 2 on integration.
The priority for Swindon College was to not only develop a new website that delivered a great user experience in terms of navigation and look and feel but capable of integrating all other systems specifically Tribal EBS and WPM Payment Platform.
For the college the new website ensures less manual administration as all enrolments and payments are now done online. There is also less duplication and allows for internal staff to concentrate on other elements of student engagement. The new website puts Swindon College at the forefront of digital development within the competitive education sector and as a result of Unified's responsive design, can now be viewed on multiple devices. Empowering students to enrol and pay for courses online has also enabled Swindon College to boost revenue and look at new ways for generating additional sales opportunities.
Using Kentico version 8 the new website offers effective course search, online enrolment and payment along with improved tone and relevancy of content and has become a central source encompassing all disparate microsites allowing for single updates across multiple channels thereby streamlining the College’s CRM. The online course search facility is powered by a close integration with the College's Tribal EBS system. Courses are accessed via the new EBS API as opposed to a more traditional portal engine; Swindon College believe they are the first to deliver this within their sector. Once prospective students have found a course they like they can now register, apply and pay for the course online - with the payments being managed through integration with the WPM Payment Platform. As the new website is responsive students can search, enrol and make payments while on the go.
Unified Solutions were selected as the preferred agency due to their collaborative approach of working and knowledge transfer. As Unified Solutions have extensive experience of the higher and further education sector they also came highly recommended by another College.