Women’s education charity invests in Advanced’s cloud technology to gain competitive edge in FE space
Published 4/1/2015 by Advanced, Editor
Blackburne House to benefit from more affordable cloud-hosted software
Educational training charity Blackburne House has gone live with software from Advanced. The cloud-based education software will enable the charity to efficiently monitor students and courses and will allow them to compete with colleges and larger training providers, whilst helping to save costs.
Blackburne House is a unique education centre in Merseyside, which over the past 25 years has pioneered training, primarily for women, in non-traditional areas of work including ICT, senior management and construction. Established in 1983, the organisation employs 70 staff and offers 50 different courses with 1,000 full and part time learning opportunities for women.
The charity has implemented ProSolution, a student management and information system which holds learner records, timetables, registers and exam details, and ProAchieve, a success, retention and achievement analysis system used by 90% of colleges in England.
Both the solutions have been hosted in the cloud by Advanced . As the software is cloud-based, this saves the charity having to invest in expensive IT infrastructures and affords them the flexibility to use a scalable model.
Maura Cummins, Head of Learning at Blackburne House, says, “Our IT structure indicated that hosting was the best way forward for us. Without hosting we would have needed to invest in an additional server which would not have been cost-effective.
“Being hosted meant we could afford the software, enabling us to compete with larger training providers and FE colleges. The solutions have already significantly improved efficiencies and will help to ensure our success rate remains high, giving our students the best possible chance and giving us the competitive edge.”
More than 30 teachers are using ProSolution, which is enabling them to move from paper registers to online registers, making attendance data more accessible and easier to monitor. Administrative staff are also using the system for enrolment and to run reports. For example, many students are entitled to concessions such as bus fares and childcare, previously staff would have had to physically source the paper registers and manually calculate their attendance. Now they can be automatically calculated online at the click of a button.
Maura Cummins says, “ProSolution provides us with accurate, up-to-date information that allows us to monitor and report on attendance and retention on an ongoing basis. This allows us to spot any potential issues, and take steps to address them, earlier.
“We are already saving time through better use of resources. Now that our data is accessible online, we are more efficient. Student contact details, attendance data and course details can be viewed instantly on screen avoiding the need to find the paper record.”
ProAchieve is used to track enrolment data, course retention rates and exam success. National averages are included within the solution, allowing staff to monitor if courses are on target to hit the national success rates, which can affect the funding it receives.
Cummins adds, “I come from an FE background and have always used ProAchieve. It is really useful in tracking current enrolment numbers, highlighting courses where retention might be low and enabling us to drill down to find out which students are not attending. It is a vital tool for monitoring and measuring our quality and success rate.
“As a previous user of Advanced's solutions I jumped at the chance of using the software again and have no hesitation in recommending them to other education providers. Their support service is exceptional. They are always on the end of phone and are very quick to respond.”
Blackburne House is the first customer to use hosted technology from Advanced.