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Further Education College Bridges Skills Gaps, Boosts Business Growth and Champions Apprenticeships

Our client is a Further Education College Group in the South of England serving more than 8,000 students nationwide. They offer a broad variety of qualifications including apprenticeships, vocational courses, T-Levels, higher education, and professional certificates. They also provide wider education services, skills development, and training opportunities in the community.

The FE college emphasises collaboration and community impact, seeking to bridge skills gaps through their exceptional learning systems, such as their cutting-edge digital apprenticeships. Their strategic Skills Hub seeks to understand and support local business’s needs in everything from leadership and management through to digital marketing and AI technical skills. The establishment also boasts a brand-new Business Centre, providing local business with the space, technology, and facilities to innovate and grow.

What They Needed

Initially, our client contacted us to help them identify employers able and open to hosting apprenticeship and placement opportunities, the latter particularly for students starting the new T-Level subjects introduced in 2021. They needed our help to secure qualified appointments with interested businesses and increase awareness of the opportunities and their benefits to businesses. They also required our support to establish long term relationships with prospective businesses and assist the college’s short, medium and long term objectives.

What We Did

Our skilled team worked alongside the college as a flexible outbound telemarketing resource. Thanks to our extensive experience in the education sector, we functioned as a seamless extension of the college’s internal employer team while adhering to the college’s mission and values. We worked with the college to profile and purchase a relevant target database according to geographical location, sector, and business size. Throughout the six-month campaign, we closely managed the prioritisation of different data segments to align with changing college priorities.

The team at Blueberry did a great job generating sales leads in industry sectors that have traditionally been difficult to engage [with]. They took the time to understand who we were and what we wanted to achieve. I recommend giving them a try.
College Head of Employer Engagement

We were also able to maximise campaign outputs by continually analysing campaign results and responding to anecdotal feedback and call outcomes. We employed a combination of telemarketing and complementary bespoke email communication to generate leads and set appointments for the internal college team. We used a conversational and unscripted solution-based approach to open a dialogue with prospective businesses. This strategy helped us to identify any skills gaps and barriers to growth. We were able to establish which businesses were interested in running apprenticeships and placements in the workplace. And we also determined any businesses that were open to various training opportunities. As a result, we were able to demonstrate the college’s commitment to providing skills solutions to meet local business’s needs. We worked closely with the college to fully comprehend their offering so that we could maximise the value of the campaign and avoid missing any opportunities to engage with businesses.

Despite a tight turnaround of just 10 days, we collected 272 emails and spoke to 142 decision makers during our Skills Hub Campaign. That equates to 27 emails and 14 people spoken to each day.
National Apprenticeship Week – WC February 6, 2023

What We Achieved

The result of our data strategy and tailored approach was a highly successful campaign which exceeded college targets. During our Industry Placements Campaign, we set up 114 appointments, across 30 days - equivalent to almost four appointments a day. We captured 495 emails and built a pipeline of 150 warm and longer-term leads. More than 75 per cent of the people we spoke to were progressed positively. Furthermore, our second Industry Placement Campaign saw us secure an additional 119 appointments over 30 days.

We generated and nurtured a substantial warm lead pipeline of businesses primed to be contacted in the future. What’s more, we amassed a wealth of information including decision-maker contact details and other useful insights to allow for more intelligent data strategy moving forwards.

What We Did Next

Following the success of the first campaign, we have continued to support the college with their business engagement activities as their telemarketing partner. During our Wider Business Engagement Campaign, we secured 37 appointments and 62 warm or longer-term leads with large organisations. In addition, we secured 36 appointments and 156 warm leads during our Distance Learning Campaign – more than 71 per cent of respondents were progressed positively.

Another one of our campaigns focused on different T-level subjects to ensure the college hit ongoing targets. We have since conducted numerous appointment-setting campaigns to drive uptake of the college’s funded online training courses. We promoted partnerships between the college and local employers through apprenticeships, guest speaking, curriculum collaboration, work experience or sponsored vocational courses. Our team worked closely with the college to ensure all eligibility criteria was met when engaging businesses with the different skills programmes. We consistently delivered reliable, effective, and highly successful support to our valued client.

Our results speak for themselves - most workshops went from having one or two attendees to being at or near capacity. In fact, the hosts had to add more workshops to the schedule to keep up with the increased demand.
National Apprenticeship Week – WC February 6, 2023

Our latest campaign was to design, create and deliver a digital email marketing sequence promoting the college’s varied apprenticeship programmes. We have already had a very positive response to our eye-catching graphic design and engaging messaging, which coincided with this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

Appointments generated across 30 days
Emails captured
Warm and longer-term leads identified
Of the people we spoke to were progressed positively.
Additional appointments secured during our second industry placement campaign
Written By Angela Kunawicz
Angela is an award winning journalist, videographer and marketeer who has worked in regional and international media outlets across the UK and Middle East, including the BBC and Abu Dhabi Media Company. With a flair for human interest stories, hard news and campaigns, she has also been commended for her outstanding photography and video productions.

For more information get in touch with Angela

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