Anna Clarke needed a system driven by the learner experience and finally found it in enrola.
The last time the nation looked to Bletchley Park for help in a crisis Milton Keynes was a sleepy village in Buckinghamshire and it certainly didn’t have a college.
But now Milton Keynes College is attempting to address the desperate skills shortage in the digital sector by establishing an Institute of Digital Technology at Bletchley Park.
The centre, backed by an industry consortium, will train apprentices and technicians in a wide range of skill including Network Engineering, Software Engineering, Development & Testing, Applications Development, Data & Business Analytics, Intelligent Systems, Games Development, Communications & Digital Marketing, and Cybersecurity.
It’s an exciting time for Anna Clarke, Head of Apprenticeships at Milton Keynes College, and she’s confident her team have the systems in place to meet the challenge.
Anna’s department recruit 300 to 400 apprentices annually and those recruits will stay on the programme for up to 4 years.
“Initially, recruiting candidates was a very manual process”, Anna says, “involving a lot of spreadsheets. Someone applied for a vacancy, they were marked off on a sheet, interviewed and that was pretty much that. There was no matching up or moving of people into other vacancies. We couldn’t really do that.
“On top of that we didn’t have the resources to post vacancies on all the different job sites. It took up too much time and we couldn’t manage that on top of everything else.
When the college decided to invest in a recruitment system Anna had a very exacting set of requirements.
“We needed a system that was scalable and flexible; that could react to changes in the market, changes in policy and changes in the entire sector.We also needed the scope to develop, to cope with changes in the way we might operate in the future. enrola was one of the very few systems that offered that capability”
Anna’s team have been enormously impressed by the level of service and support they get for a monthly subscription.
“We’re in contact with them all the time, developing the next add on to the system.
“Through the development process we now have separate communications streams for different employers, so if they have differences in the way they recruit that’s reflected in the system at employer level.
We also use all the job sites – we can do that instantly at the press of a button.
And of course we have GDPR compliance reflected in there now; they turned that round for us really quickly”.
Anna is currently working with enrola on a project to create an integration with OneFile, the e-portfolio system.
“Apprenticeships combine the academic side with workplace experience and this integration will enable us to track the apprentice’s entire learning journey. It will be a one touch data system.
“We will be able to take the details we get from candidates at recruitment, take all their assessments in subjects like English and Maths and put them straight into OneFile to set up their account, and from them on it will be a totally seamless process for the learner. We intend that they’ll even be able to sign contracts electronically.
“Throughout this process the enrola team are in constant contact with the Director of Apprenticeships and myself checking that they’re doing what we want and that they’re reflecting our business needs and the processes that we use”.
Since starting their journey with enrola the Milton Keynes team have seen a number of similar products come on the market.
Has Anna ever been tempted to try another system?“I’ve checked out some of the other systems, but the impression I get is that they’re always driven by something else. enrola is driven by the learner experience. That’s what sets it apart”.Anna Clarke, MK College