Leeds City College

Reducing administrative time with automated communications and a self-service approach

Leeds City College (LCC) is dedicated to transforming learning from the inside out. From the merger of three colleges in 2009, a fourth in 2011, the addition of Leeds College of Music to the group, to the latest Ofsted assessment conducted in May 2012, LCC has worked hard to improve the quality of its teaching, learning and assessment as well as centralising information related to the CPD of its workforce.


Teaching staff, support staff and management staff alike enjoy a proactive learning and development programme that not only ensures compliance against statutory and mandatory training requirements but also professional development.

The college is delighted with its Ofsted success but recognises the importance of continually improving its teaching and I earning to become an exceptional college. This will be driven by the hard work, attitude and commitment of the staff.

The Client

Leeds City College (LCC) is the UK’s third largest Further Education establishment, offering a diverse curriculum to over 45,000 students, across a wide range of campuses and centres. Courses cover almost all subject areas and include full and part time academic and vocational qualifications from basic skills to Apprenticeships and up to HE level with the skills they need to make a positive contribution to the local economy. LCC offers a host of business solutions including work-based programmes and online learning. LCC enjoys good partnerships with local businesses and is recognised for its role in feeding skilled people into the local workforce.

The College’s development activities focus on three key stakeholders: Managers, Business/Student Support Staff and Academic Staff.

The Business Requirement

Following the merger of the 4 colleges, the Leeds City College staff cohort has grown to 1800+, creating the need for a central system that supports a variety of learning and development activities, effectively.

Each college recorded data, such as appraisals and training records, differently using paper based, manual processes. A central system was required that delivered a more holistic view of the learning and development initiatives they offered internally and for those applying for courses to have better visibility of training, and to enable a level of self-sufficiency. The College’s OD & HR Officer explains, “We are a hard working team of 4, overseeing the learning and development requirements of a workforce of 1,800.”

"Prior to implementing ES most things were done via a paper based process. We used the Intranet to advertise training internally, but had no capacity for automated authorisation. The legacy system was no longer viable, once the workforce increased to over 1,700."
OD and HR Officer

Although LCC’s OD & HR team had implemented a HR system that included a training module, it didn’t meet the Organisational Development team’s needs. “We tested this thoroughly but found it too complicated, self-service wasn’t adequate and we couldn’t run the same event more than once. After out audit of the system, which included discussions with other colleges using it without much more success, we looked for another option.

Simplicity and self-service were key to ensure the training needs of over 1,800 staff could be satisfactorily met. We wanted to give individuals visibility of and responsibility for their own learning path.”

The Solution

ES was reviewed against various systems including a CPD system that could in theory do the job. The team sought recommendations and demonstration from those already using similar systems, and it was a referral via the Learning and Development network that put them in touch with Bradford College who were already successful using ES LMS. They spent some time with the team at Bradford College to see the system in action and found it met their requirements with some of ES’s core modules.

Compliance Management

Certain disciplines, such as Student Safeguarding, Equality & Diversity and Health & Safety, are mandatory for all staff to complete. So keeping on top of who is up to date with training is vital. ES Elms enables an expiry time to be set and automated reminders sent to individuals and manager, so that training is kept up to date. The traffic light system enables individuals to easily view their compliance status.

E-Learning Manager

LCC has recently moved its compliance learning to e-learning based. The ES E-Learning module enables the team to launch e-learning content via the system, making it easily accessible. E-Learning programmes can be tracked and reported on.

Creating CPD Programmes

ES eLMS provides LCC the tools to create individual CPD records for staff. Individuals can access and update their own records, record their reflections and see how many hours they have accrued. This provides the OD & HR team a central system in which to view the CPD undertaken around the College, evaluate it and provide advice to managers and staff on different ways in which they can further support their individual learning.

Appraisal Manager

LCC are one of the early adopters of ES’s Appraisal Manager and have been working closely with ES to develop the module to fit their requirements. Appraisal Manager allows appraisals to be schedules, recorded and managed online. It replaces a previously paper based process and enables the team to draw much better management information from the system to identify individuals training needs.

Authorisation & Workforce

LCC recently commissioned a bespoke Learning & Development Needs report which pulls through data from staff appraisal forms. This will be used by the OD & HR team as a learning needs analysis and development plans built in partnership with managers in the organisation.

"We wanted to increase the number of staff using the system, and this has achieved that. It also reduced the admin burden and allows us to better track expenditure and provides a clear audit trail."

Automation Communications

The team had previously managed communications manually, which meant creating mailing lists and email groups for each event to be able to send targeted communications. This created a sizeable and time consuming chunk of admin for each training event. ES eLMS enables communications to be tailored and automated by event, from booking confirmation to joining instructions to evaluation reminders. The savings in admin time are significant.

Evaluations Module

Feedback on the training delivered was previously gathered via a paper based process and was inefficient. The Evaluations Module has been invaluable as reports have been used to feedback to internal and external facilitators who have provided training, to assess and improve the quality of any future training. Information regarding attendee numbers, cancellations and completions enables the team to accurately identify the improvements needed as part of a range of learning and development initiatives and to track ROI. The team has started to build their own evaluation templates now, so feedback and reporting can be very specific.

Customer Service

The OD and HR team have found ES’s customer service invaluable throughout. “While other suppliers would charge us consultation fees to even scope out our enquiries, the ES team are very accessible and provide sensible and relevant advice. They are very responsive and quick to provide effective solutions. We have entered into a collaborative partnership which allows both us and ES to be a sounding board for each other, this style of alliance works really well for us.”

The Results

LCC have internal and external standards to maintain and improve upon. ES supports the OD & HR Team deliver learning and development initiatives that help to meet these standards. The system helps to provide clear reporting and audit trails of progress, by team or individual.

The OD and HR team have found the efficiencies the system delivers has freed up some of the departments time, which is now utilised by focusing on the more strategic aspects of OD & HR agenda.

"From a team point of view, having everything online is so much easier. Delegates don’t need to email us when they need to find out what they have done and what needs doing or renewing. Previously we would have had to pull a file to find out. Now the self-service aspect of LMS means delegates can access their own records and take more responsibility for their CPD."

Launched in January 2012, LCC have recognised a number of benefits from using ES LMS:

  • Reduced costs – ability to identify training requirements and plan training efficiently across all the sites reduces unnecessary costs and ensures the right people are given the right training
  • Greater efficiency - the self-service approach, automated communications and clear reporting has reduced administration time
  • Improved decision making – effective evaluations and accurate reporting enables better choices to be made and better planning
  • Clear audit trail – provides a clear audit trail of statutory and mandatory training for compliance and inspections
  • Greater employee engagement – the system engages individuals directly in their learning