Presentation on theme: "Gower College Swansea South Wales, UK Marketing and recruitment for further education in challenging environments."— Presentation transcript:
Gower College Swansea South Wales, UK Marketing and recruitment for further education in challenging environments
Challenges Challenges are many and ever- changing but fall roughly into two categories: Internal External Its a steep learning curve!!
Internal Risk averse v demanding targets Unrealistic expectations Seen purely as cash cows Resistance from teaching staff....
Risk-Averse Not to be underestimated! - Safety of staff and students Staff travelling alone in ‘risky’ countries Under 18s duty of care Terrorism - Financial Investing money with no guarantee of return
Unrealistic Expectations Will immediately get a full class of 15 students for a new course Developing collaborative partnerships will reap immediate rewards All Leads, EOIs and tenders will turn into hard cash
Resistance from teaching staff S ee international students as an extra burden Assumption that poor English is the cause of any work problems Make extra demands on their time and will adversely affect the rest of the class Concern that their results may not be as good and will affect rankings Not taking responsibility for international students
External What is an FE College??? Visa requirements – ever changing! Agents Competition HTS and UKBA....
What is an FE College???
All things to all people Most people outside the UK do not know what a Further Education College is – and that includes the British Council!! No single definition of an FE College Every one is different
Visa Requirements Guidance not regulations Subject to interpretation … but in many instances cannot be challenged Credibility interviews – whose credibility??? Losing out to countries with easier visa requirements The 3 year rule
Agents A Godsend or a necessary evil? Who can you trust? How do you know a good agent when you meet one? Are they working in your and the students best interest? Competition – they are not just working for you!
Competition We are competing with Boarding Schools at one end and universities at the other New countries competing with ‘better’ offers – Norway, Germany, Netherlands etc. Are we too expensive – or too cheap?? Growth of in-country campuses
HTS and Visa and Immigration Service FE Colleges are adversely affected by visa refusals, withdrawals etc. FE Colleges don’t have the clout that Universities have Don’t usually have the resources to access Premium Service or expensive legal advice The 10 hours work rule
What can we do? Are there factors we cannot change? How do we work round them? How can we mitigate the challenges both internally and externally?
How do we best market ourselves overseas? Decide on your target markets Limit the offer – focus your offer to meet the skills needs of each country Promote your USPs Keep it simple!
Visas Ensuring that the students you recruit have the best chance of getting their visa applications approved - Be selective on who you recruit – quality not quantity - Beware applicants who aren’t absolutely clear about what they want to study and why they want to do it - Keep up regular communication with applicants, don’t over-rely on Agents - Help them prepare for credibility interviews
Working with Agents A Godsend or a necessary evil? Probably both! But you will find it harder to recruit without them Who can you trust? You can only really know once you are working regularly with them - use British Council Agent lists – BC does not specifically recommend any Agents but at least you know they have probably had some training and aren’t crooks! - ask around, find out if anyone has had or knows of any bad experiences with an Agent
Working with Agents (2) How do you know a good agent when you meet one? Very difficult but trust your instinct - an Agent who tells you they should be able to get you one or two students to start with is more likely to be selecting appropriate students than one that promises to send you 100s of students - have they taken time to find out about your institution? Are they working in yours and the students best interest? Are they taking money off the students as well as taking commission from you? Are they pushing students towards the college that pays the highest commission or the one that best suits the student?
Working with Agents (3) Competition – they are not just working for you! How do you make sure that your college is the one they think of first: - keep regular communication with them. Ring and chat as well as just sending s - Send them news items about the college and tell them how their students are doing. - Make sure they have plenty of your marketing materials and update them with new courses etc. - visit as often as you can and take them out to dinner And don’t be afraid to drop any Agent that you are not happy with
Competition We are competing with Boarding Schools at one end and universities at the other - but remember a good FE college can match them on quality and beat them on price - promote any outstanding features that will appeal to parents: exam results, subject choice, Oxbridge successes, student support, homestay New countries competing with ‘better’ offers – Norway, Germany, Netherlands etc. - hard one this but the UK is still the country of choice for very many students. Scholarships? English Language in the community as well as at college? Cost of living? Are we too expensive – or too cheap?? - we can be seen as too cheap so must be lower quality - cannot compete on price with countries such as Malaysia, Singapore but would they get the same quality experience? Growth of in-country campuses