Skip to content

Regional meeting at Bedford College

April 9, 2014

We’ve visited a number of fantastic new buildings at colleges around the country, but rarely amazing old buildings – a few years ago we had a regional meeting at Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre which was very impressive, and so is the Bedford Sixth Form, where we convened for our event last week. Originally a private girls’ school, the site is a fantastic Victorian pile, including a chapel complex where we met in the Old Prayer Room.


21st century technology was a bit reluctant to catch up with us, so we started the day with some old-fashioned conversation, discussing 24+ loans, alumni, and other topics of interest, before hearing from Michael Bennett, Head of Marketing & Communications at South Essex College, on using research to inform curriculum planning, and later Lee Parker, Marketing Manager at Bedford College, who gave us an update on the college’s social media policies.

An excellent buffet lunch facilitated more networking and conversation, and photos are now on our facebook page. Feedback to the day included:

  • “Another great event. Thanks to all.”
  • “Great mix of marketing colleagues.”
  • “Very informative and useful. Nice to see other people have the same problems.”
  • “All very helpful.”


Regional meeting at The Oldham College

April 8, 2014

There was a cold brisk wind blowing off the moors as I parked at The Oldham College’s University Centre before our regional networking meeting, but the welcome was warm and friendly. The large and informal lecture room was provided with coffee and all the facilities we needed for the third meeting in our 2014 series.


As always, we had a good mix of volunteer speakers from colleges around the area with general discussion and exchange of ideas. Rebecca Wilkins, Director of Marketing at Salford City College, told us about her experiences of using Vector to research the college community and inform curriculum and marketing planning. Her enthusiasm for the tool was evident as she showed us some of its capabilities live online.

A general discussion on alumni was started with a quick overview of York College’s strategy, based on our meeting there recently, and we also talked about prospectuses, aspects of social media and much more. A buffet lunch provided more opportunities for debate, then Mark Whittaker, Director of Marketing at Stoke City College, gave an overview of the college’s partnerships and support for a number of academies in the city. He outlined some of the challenges of working with the schools, and of marketing their curriculum alongside that of the college, as well as taking about the context of relationships with other providers.

Thank you to our speakers, to The Oldham College for hosting us, and to Chris Cartwright at the college for liaising and making all the arrangements.

Regional networking meeting at York College – alumni, schools liaison and more….

March 14, 2014


We had a busy day at York College on 6th March, covering alumni, schools liaison and time management – and we enjoyed lunch and refreshments prepared and served by the college’s Hospitality students.

Head of Marketing at York College Liz Moon opened the day with a presentation on alumni: as part of the FHE provision in the city, the college has been part of a research project to find out more about the attitudes and careers of the ex-students of the university and colleges there. This has given the college a range of pointers to help them get their alumni strategy started, and Liz discussed the actions they’ve taken so far and the plans they have for further developments.

Kevin Burns, Head of Marketing & Schools Liaison at Bishop Auckland College, gave an overview of his team’s schools liaison work, and before lunch, we were welcomed to the college by Vice Principal Graeme Murdoch, who spoke of the importance of marketing to the development and work of York College.

The hot buffet and desserts cleared away, we heard from Rachel Till about some ways of working smarter and more effectively in these pressurised times. Rachel was a college head of marketing before starting her own PR and marketing company, and her recent experiences as a freelance have given her a range of insights which she shared with us.


Conversation and exchanges of experiences flowed over lunch, and were still continuing after the formal end of the day. For those who didn’t have to rush away, Liz’s colleague Jill provided a tour of the impressive building which still looks new although it has now been open several years.

The College Marketing Network is grateful to York College for their hospitality, and to Liz and her team for facilitating the event.

Deputy Prime Minister announces a new information service for young people

February 28, 2014

Nick Clegg yesterday announced new support for young people who don’t want to go to university – a UCAS-style service involving a single website and improved careers education in schools. For more details see his speech at

The 157 Group of larger colleges welcomed the announcement and said: “Today’s commitment is a very positive step towards making sure that the choice of a vocational pathway is seen as a natural and valued one for everyone. Further education colleges serve many people on vocational programmes who are experiencing educational success that they otherwise might not have had. But too many young people either do not know about these options or, as recent research by the Edge Foundation found, are actively put off pursuing vocational pathways. The deputy prime minister is right to acknowledge that this has to change if we are to solve the problem of youth unemployment and encourage great economic prosperity for all.”

They also cautioned: “We are, however, keen to see what policies will lie behind this commitment in practice. We will be seeking assurance that the proposed website and the new guidance will actually make a genuine improvement to the quality of young people’s educational experience.”

So we look forward to more information and detail …..


Programme for York regional networking meeting

February 24, 2014

Our next free regional networking meeting for CMN members is at York College on 6th March. Open to non-members at £75 per person (advance booking required – contact Our programme includes:

Kevin Burns, Head of Marketing & Schools Liaison, Bishop Auckland College: schools liaison, keep warm and conversion strategies.

Liz Moon, Head of Marketing, York College: developing an alumni strategy.

Digital media surgery: share your experiences and ask for information about social media issues, the future of the prospectus, measuring ROI and other aspects of digital media strategy.


Rachel Till, Extend PR & Marketing: Staying focused, delivering results.

The marketing job has never been broader, or busier. As teams are stretched and budgets reduced, how can you deliver the results you want?

Rachel Till is a former Head of Comms at a medium sized FE College, whose team of 4 won a silver Heist Award in the Team of the Year category in 2011. Since then, she’s worked with 7 different FE colleges, a university and several private sector clients to assist busy marketing and PR teams with their workload. Here she shares some tools, tactics and sanity strategies for high performing teams.

We will also aim to have time to discuss issues raised by delegates – these could include apprenticeships marketing, community events, taster days, and HE in FE.

Thanks to York College for their hospitality.

New webinar title: researching parents and young people

February 24, 2014

Our Next Steps series of one-to-one discounted webinars continues with a session on researching parents and young people.

Philip Lucas of The Education Marketing Practice will discuss the options available if you want to gather the opinions of parents and young people – including potential students and their parents. He will go through with you the key steps in the process and look at some examples used in perceptions surveys on behalf of colleges. For more detail on the content, please contact

To book a one-to-one webinar, first contact with your PO number or cheque for £95 + VAT (total £114 – representing a College Marketing Network discount of 25% off the full price). Once this has been processed, Philip will contact you to arrange a mutually-convenient time for the webinar on a one-to-one basis, so your session can be tailored to your needs and all your questions answered. The session will last approx. one hour.

Philip’s previous webinar, on managing relations with schools, is still available on demand, and other titles in our Next Steps webinar programme also available are:

Managing Relationships

  • Reputation & Relationship Essentials
  • Managing Relations with Employers
  • Managing Relations with Internal Stakeholders


  • Market Research Essentials
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Researching parents and young people
  • Researching employers
  • Researching senior stakeholders
  • Researching staff views
  • Researching reputation / perceptions
  • Mystery Shopping


  • Bid Writing

Digital Marketing, with Simon Connor, FEmarketing

  • Google Analytics
  • Converting More Visitors Into Learners
  • Website Best Practice
  • Developing Employer Responsive Web Content
  • Promoting Apprenticeships To Employers Online
  • Using LinkedIn To Promote Your Training & Apprenticeships To Employers

To book any of these webinars at £95+VAT (CMN members only), contact

Lively meeting at Stratford-upon-Avon College

February 21, 2014

We had a lively and informative meeting at Stratford-upon-Avon College last week, when CMN members from around the Midlands gathered for a wide-ranging day of discussion and sharing.

Alongside general exchanges of ideas about digital media, the future of the prospectus and other topics of interest to us all, we had three speakers, all of them winners of FE First Awards in 2013 – Sandra Ciuffini from Henley College Coventry talked about her college’s partnership with the local newspaper which has supported and increased the college’s links with local businesses and employers; Cheryl Connolly discussed the development of a new marketing team following a radical restructure, and Aaron Mansfield from South & City College Birmingham talked about the college’s development of an independent IAG service which is paying dividends for its schools liaison work.

A buffet lunch gave time for informal networking and discussion. Feedback was very positive, so it was an excellent start to our 2014 programme of regional networking meetings – free to CMN members, £75 to non-members. More details from


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 316 other followers