Canterbury College’s Recruitment System
Canterbury College delivers growth in apprenticeships and student work placements with CVMinder HUB
- 8,000 students to support
- 4,000 students requiring work experience
- 1,500 employer relationships
- 650 apprenticeship requirements
- 14 staff
- 1 solution
Managing the delivery of relevant work experience to 4,000 students whilst providing a commercial recruitment service to 8,000 in total puts a good deal of pressure on Canterbury College’s Active Links team. However, the implementation of the CVMinder HUB solution allows Rhona Williams, Head of department, and her team to manage all student recruitment activities centrally. Through the use of CVMinder Canterbury College was able to:
- Manage all employer vacancies, apprenticeships and work placements in one place
- Measure student employability and target appropriate support
- Improve student employment outcomes
- Increase productivity and reduce administration overheads
- Help the team to meet its KPIs
About the client
Canterbury College provides Further and Higher Education services to over 8,000 students. Its Active Links Recruitment Service has grown and has current-day responsibility for acquiring and fulfilling full-time and part time vacancies, apprenticeships and student work placements across Kent.
Rhona Williams has worked at the College for 8 years and is responsible for:
- the recruitment of all apprenticeship learners
- development of the employability agenda
- implementation of the work experience element of student Study Programmes
The team began as a small, almost traditional recruitment service working with local employers to place students into their live vacancies.
“Today we have in excess of 4,000 learners on study programmes, so over 4,000 students require work experience in addition to recruiting for hundreds of apprenticeship vacancies. We work with around 1,500 employers to fulfil these requirements and the team has grown from me and one other into a much bigger department.”
In the beginning, the fledgling Active Links organisation relied upon Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and electronic files. As professionals, the team attempted to manage everything as diligently as possible, but it was inevitable that growth in both vacancy and application numbers would eventually force a rethink.
“We needed to make the hours count and become more productive. Our early successes brought more work, but we didn’t have a facility for people to upload their CVs, to communicate vacancies to students and process all applications efficiently. Our very basic candidate management system started to creak.”
Another key issue concerned information sharing. Without a centralised solution, staff holidays and other absences created information gaps in active recruitment campaigns and that can be bad for business.
“As we became more successful and increasingly busy with the added demands of apprenticeships, we really felt the need to have a proper system.”
As Rhona and her team share similar recruitment backgrounds, they made use of their combined industry experience to specify, review and select a system that could meet the challenge of a broad set of requirements.
Functionally, Rhona and her team knew what they were looking for. The chosen solution would have to be flexible and comprehensive but, just as importantly, it must be very simple to use.
“We reviewed a number of recruitment solutions from local and international suppliers, but most of them were targeted at standard recruitment practices and we are recruiting in quite a unique environment. Students don’t generally have a rich career history, so traditional recruitment techniques don’t always work. Unfortunately, lots of products were pretty rigid and didn’t give us the key features we required. “
CVMinder helps Active Links by centralising all recruitment activities with natural, secure information sharing between staff. In one system there is comprehensive support for apprenticeships, full-time and part-time work and work placements that are linked to study programmes. The Active Links team can alert students to appropriate vacancies in addition to centralising applicants from anywhere, including the National Apprenticeship Service.
CVMinder HUB also embeds employability support. This allows the team to assess a student’s employment skills via self-assessment and an embedded framework for CV, statement and interview measures. The data collected by CVMinder has helped with the successful targeting of extra-curricular workshops and drop-in sessions for students.
Rhona and her team know that the quality of support makes a real difference when an organisation increases its dependency upon any software solution.
“The response and the customer service for CVMinder is really strong”, says Rhona. ”Someone will visit if we need anything and they are always at the end of the phone”.
Overall, Rhona believes the software and its developments have fully supported the team at Canterbury College Active Links. “As we have grown and expanded, so has the software. We haven’t ever reached the point where the software has fallen behind the requirements of a growing business, because CVMinder has evolved with us.” The team has also benefited from some bespoke additions, such as collecting driving license information, photos and more which the team has found very helpful when searching for people in a very large candidate pool.
“All those little bits and pieces just gave CVMinder a bespoke feel, without the bespoke price tag. It is really competitive in terms of cost for us.”
Having a recruitment solution with additional employability support allowed the team to easily manage the student and employer journey. All information regarding each role and every student is stored within CVMinder and this allows every team member to efficiently access the information they require.
“There’s been a huge reduction in administration time”, says Rhona. “It’s certainly much quicker than trawling through an Excel spreadsheet and paper files. Also, students and external applicants are all very clear on how their details are being managed and they value the transparency.”
It seems that Students also feel the benefit of using CVMinder as they are alerted with appropriate new vacancies and this improves their likelihood of gaining employment. Additionally, Rhona is able to analyse data collected via student self-assessments and use this to shape and improve the employability provision delivered by the College.
“We have a solution for measuring student employability. We had data before, but it was harder to extract and interrogate, whereas now if someone assesses themselves I can generate a report easily across a group and identify strengths and weaknesses either at individual or group level. That has been really helpful, especially with thousands of students.”
Staying on track
CVMinder’s Management Reporting tools allow Rhona to review data and monitor team activity in line with the department’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
“We have a lot of KPIs to work towards and it’s great that I am now able to evidence our achievements. For example, we have over 5,000 active registrations. I have the report to prove it.”
Overall, Canterbury College has benefited significantly by using CVMinder HUB. With a growing team and increased responsibilities CVMinder has allowed Rhona to overcome the unusual combination of challenges with recruitment and employability in education.
The Active Links team really feels the benefits of using CVMinder and they have seen the system grow as they have grown. In summary, Rhona describes CVMinder as,
“flexible, productive and cost-effective. With tightening budgets and increasing student numbers, an investment in any software solution needs to tick those three points and CVMinder delivered on them”