From education to employment

Local Authority tackles funding squeeze with online student tracking system

An online student tracking system will help Wakefield Council’s Adult and Community Education Service tackle an expected squeeze in funding.

According to a recent survey by the Association of Colleges, adult education is facing a £200m cutback in expenditure next academic year.

Providers are on the look out for different ways to improve efficiency to survive cuts and still provide quality learning services.

UNIT-e, an online facility from Capita Further and Higher Education, the education systems supplier, offers cash-strapped providers a way to lessen their administrative burdens.

Wakefield Council plans to implement the scheme to manage 10,000 enrolments every year, across more than 20 community centres, employers and schools.

“We realised that our existing systems needed to be updated to allow access directly from our many different learning centres,” says Sue Johnson, service director for adult and community learning at Wakefield.

“Using UNIT-e will mean that information on attendance and learners can be entered directly at community learning centres, rather than having to be collated and passed to the council team to enter. This will result in great efficiency savings.”

The online enrolment facility can also be integrated with Capita’s card payment services, enabling students to sign up to a course remotely if visiting a learning centre is unsuitable.

Ms Johnson continues: “UNIT-e can also help us make effective use of the funding we receive based on the courses we offer and the learners who apply. This is particularly important as we provide such a wide range of courses, which tap into a number of different funding streams, including 16 to 18 education, Adult Learner Responsive courses, work-based training and family learning courses.

“Other information will also become more accessible – details of attendance, the take up of courses and feedback from employers hosting students in work-based learning schemes, for example. The information will help us to make better decisions about the content of courses and in refining what we offer so it meets the needs of our community.”

UNIT-e is supporting the student management process across a variety of the UK’s post-16 education and training institutions. The system covers the entire student lifecycle, from online enquiries to examinations.

George Layfield, head of sales at Capita Further and Higher Education, says: “UNIT-e can help local authorities simplify the complex business of providing a diverse range of learning courses across multiple sites. It will help Wakefield cut administration by ensuring each learning centre can access and upload information on courses and learners directly into the system, which can then be reported on centrally.

“UNIT-e will also make sense of the numerous funding streams that the education team must juggle, giving them a clear picture of what resources are available to them.”

Jason Rainbow

Related Articles