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FE First Awards 2018 for college marketing – now open!

June 5, 2018

The FE First Awards 2018 for college marketing excellence awards are now open for entries! Join us in celebrating the best in college marketing and showcase the work you’ve done and the successes you’ve had over the past year: enter the FE First Awards 2018 and make a date for the Awards presentation on Monday 26th November as part of our Annual Conference at the Hilton Warwick.

We’ve taken your advice in updating the categories this year, and we’ve simplified the submission forms, to make the awards as relevant and easy to enter as possible.



The categories for FE First Awards 2018 are:

* These three categories are only open to colleges in current membership of the College Marketing Network at the time of the award on Monday 26th November 2018.

Entering the FE First Awards

  • Download the relevant submission forms from the links above for the categories you want to enter;
  • Download the FE First Awards brochure and interactive entry form here (please include the entry form with your submission)
  • Deadline for entries, Thursday 27th September 2018 at 1pm. Incomplete or late entries cannot be accepted.
  • Fees: £80 per entry for CMN members for the first two categories entered; £70 per category if 3 or more categories are entered. £115 per category for non-CMN member colleges – or join by 1st September 2018 and pay the member rates. More information and how to join here. A PO or cheque must be included with your entry.
  • Entries should be sent either by email to, or in hard copy to The College Marketing Network, F16 Preston Technology Centre, Marsh Lane, Preston, PR1 8UQ.

Book now for our next CMN networking meeting, Barnsley College 16 May

April 24, 2018

Our next networking meeting will be at Barnsley College on 16 May.

The programme will include: 

10.15am Arrival, registration and coffee for a 10.30am start.

10.30 Introductions and welcome

Lindsay Garfitt-Brown, Marketing Manager & Sue Tazzyman, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, Barnsley College

Your college website: more than just an online prospectus
We will give an outline of our website development project, how we approached this and who was involved, as well as the successes and pitfalls we experienced.

Kathryn O’Neill, Marketing & Admissions Manager, Wigan & Leigh College

A centralised admissions approach
A look at how the college has centralised their admissions approach aligned to the needs of the schools and as an integrated and fundamental part of the Marketing and Recruitment strategy.

12.00 Round-table discussion time for your topics

12.30 Lunch

Gemma Dunn, Head of Marketing & Communications, and Kirsty Lunn, Head of FE Student Recruitment, Bradford College

‘Your journey to enrolment’
Presenting the 2017 FE Enrolment Plan for Bradford College – ‘Your Journey to Enrolment’, a customer-centric approach to enrolling 16-18 year olds. The ‘Journey’ campaign is (currently) shortlisted for a CIM Award – in the Not-for Profit/Public Sector Category for demonstrating innovation.

The presentation will provide an over of the College-wide planning approach, development and implementation, branding and post-campaign review with time for Q&A.

The day will end by 2.00pm. Timings are given for guidance and may be subject to change.

Venue: Barnsley College, Old Mill Lane Campus, Church Street, Barnsley S70 2AX


Book now at where you can download the booking form to pay by PO/invoice or pay via Eventbrite. £30 pp to CMN member colleges; £80pp to non CMN member colleges.

Book now for our next networking meeting, 18 April, City of Oxford College

March 13, 2018

If you’ve been to one of our networking meetings before, you’ll know that they are invaluable for meeting colleagues, exchanging ideas and experiences, and making contacts – as well as hearing from fellow marketers and external speakers on a wide range of topics. Lunch and refreshments are included – and you have the chance to see another college!

Our programme for the day is: 

10.15am  Arrival, registration and coffee for a 10.30am start.

10.30 Introductions and welcome

Samantha MacKay, Marketing Manager, Guildford College Group
Teen talks: changing the perception of Farnham Sixth Form College
Teen Talks, a series of six events, invited external organisations to come in and speak to local parents and the local community about issues affecting teenagers today. The events were intended to be informative, to generate positive word of mouth, to shift perception of the College more positively and to reinforce the ‘supporting you to succeed’ message. In total, over 200 local parents attended the six events. Research carried out post the events confirmed that the perception of Farnham Sixth Form College pre and post events improved by 13%.

Karen Rabjohn, Fundraising Development Manager, Bedford College Group
How to freeze your guests and still run a successful event!
Last year, Bedford College ran a very successful promotional event in Hangar 1, Cardington Airfield, to showcase its new Advanced Engineering Centre to heads of industry, business leaders and potential funders.  Karen Rabjohn, Fundraising Development Manager for the College looks at the highs, lows, successes and the not so successful elements of holding a top event in a challenging venue!

12.00 Round-table discussion time for your topics

12.30 Lunch

Stephen Lockhart & Tim Ketterer, Float New Media Design
LMI for college websites
“Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good-quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities.”– The Gatsby Benchmarks

We all know the importance of labour market information. Its value is outlined in the Gatsby benchmarks and the Government’s new career strategy, where institutions are encouraged to have key data accessible to give young people and adults a clear picture of what a job involves and the salary, qualifications and experience they need to enter and progress in their chosen careers.

The challenge, as we see it, is how colleges can make the most of all of the available data and present this to students in an engaging way to help them make informed choices. Our research has seen us work with data from multiple sources including “LMI for All”, HESA and Unistats to map possible routes through education and onto a particular career.

The culmination of this research is a new tool called Pathways. We look forward to sharing this with you and will  value any feedback or insight you may have.

The day will end by 2.00pm. Timings are given for guidance and may be subject to change.

 Venue: City of Oxford College, Oxpens Road, Oxford, OX1 1SA

Thanks to City of Oxford College (part of Activate Learning) for their hospitality.

To book, contact with a PO for £30pp (CMN member colleges) or £80pp (CMN non-member colleges), or pay by credit card here for CMN member colleges, or here for CMN non-member colleges. If you are not sure if your college is a member, contact 01772 257833.

Sharing good practice with the College Marketing Network

February 7, 2018

Are you getting the most out of your CMN membership? Being part of our JISCmail sharing good practice group means you can get instant help and advice from colleagues around the country.

CMN members are currently talking about:

  • Internal progression plans
  • Brand tracker tools/research – have you used them/do they offer good ROI?
  • Student/staff awards ceremonies – getting new events off the ground
  • Looking for a small digital marketing agency – have you found alternatives to the big market leaders?
  • Examples of SLAs with other departments you could share
  • Improving employer event engagement
  • Experiences of using the MyDay app
  • Recommendations for web development companies

… and much more on our home page – registered users can just click on the month by month archive to find all the recent conversations, listed by topic, then add your comment.

Our rules and guidelines attached – key things to remember are ALL conversations in the group must be kept confidential, and always state who you are and where you’re posting from. And don’t forget to put your topic in the subject heading.

If you’re not sure if you’re registered in the group or you’d like any help using this resource, just get in touch. If your college isn’t yet a member of the College Marketing Network and would like to find out more, contact


Many thanks to all contributors – if you haven’t taken part yet, please get started….

CMN networking meetings 2018

January 16, 2018

BOOK NOW for the first networking meetings of 2018 – dates and venues announced

If you’ve been to one of our networking meetings before, you’ll know that they are invaluable for meeting colleagues, exchanging ideas and experiences, and making contacts – as well as hearing from fellow marketers and external speakers on a wide range of topics. Lunch and refreshments are included – and you have the chance to see another college!

Meetings start from 10 with refreshments, a buffet lunch is provided at 12.30 and meetings end at 2pm. We aim to keep these events informal and friendly, and to provide time for discussion of your own topics, in addition to hearing from speakers.

There is a small charge (£30 pp for CMN members; £80 pp to CMN non-member colleges) and you can pay either with a PO sent to or by credit card via the Eventbrite links on the CMN website (, Eventbrite fees apply).

Our networking meetings for 2018 will start on 14th February at The Manchester College’s Wythenshawe Campus, ( where the programme will include Mark Whittaker, Director of Marketing at Stoke on Trent College, Adam Sharples, Senior Marketing & Communications Officer, Preston’s College and Kristian Bentham, Marketing Manager at the Manchester College, discussing recruiting apprentices and employers, new ways to start recruitment in year 10, and professional standards. There’ll also be time to discuss your own priorities and concerns in a round-table session – maybe you want to catch up with how others are preparing for GDPR implementation?? Full programme available at

Dates and venues for future meetings include:

  • 18th April – City of Oxford College
  • 16th May – Barnsley College
  • 20th June – South & City College Birmingham


FE First Awards 2017 – results

December 13, 2017

The FE First Awards 2017 for marketing excellence were made at an inspirational and exciting event on 27th November as part of our 30th Annual Conference. They were presented by Dr Lynne Sedgemore CBE, a supporter and leading practitioner of college marketing from its earliest days, and supported by our sponsors and exhibitors. Our thanks to them, and to all our entrants for making it such a great evening of celebration and achievement.

The awards made were:

Category Award College
Internal Communications Campaign Gold West London College
  Highly Commended Telford College
External PR/Communications Campaign Gold Evolve Learning Group, part of West London College
  Silver The Guildford College Group
  Highly Commended South & City College Birmingham
Events management Gold Bedford College Group
  Silver West London College
  Silver Boston College
Innovation Gold Stoke on Trent College
Digital & Social Media campaign, sponsored by Net Natives Gold LTE Group
  Silver West London College
  Highly Commended Milton Keynes College
Website development project, sponsored by FEmarketing Gold City College Plymouth
  Silver Lewisham Southwark College
  Silver West Kent College
  Highly Commended Barnsley College
Specialised Recruitment Campaign Gold West London College
  Silver Evolve Learning Group, part of West London College
  Highly Commended Preston’s College
Full-time Prospectus Gold The Cornwall College Group
  Silver The Sheffield College
  Highly Commended Havering College of Further & Higher Education
School Leaver Recruitment campaign, sponsored by Hotcourses Group Gold West London College
Marketing Team of the Year 2017, sponsored by AoC Gold South & City College Birmingham
  Silver West London College
  Highly Commended Milton Keynes College
  Highly Commended Lewisham Southwark College

Countdown reminder to the FE First Awards 2017 – just over 2 weeks to go!

September 12, 2017

Don’t forget there’s just over 2 weeks to go to submit your FE First Awards 2017 – so don’t delay starting to put your entries together! There’s still time if you get going soon!

What are the categories for 2017?

  • External PR/Communications campaign
  • Internal Communications campaign
  • Events management
  • Website development, sponsored by FEmarketing
  • Innovation
  • Digital and social media campaign, sponsored by Net Natives
  • School leaver recruitment campaign, sponsored by Hotcourses
  • Specialised recruitment campaign
  • Full-time prospectus
  • Marketing Team of the Year*, sponsored by AoC
  • Lifetime Achievement Award*

(* categories only open to CMN member colleges at the time of the award on 27th November)

What do I need to do?

  • DOWNLOAD THE ENTRY FORMS from along with more supporting information and the Awards brochure. EACH CATEGORY HAS ITS OWN ENTRY FORM SO MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD THE RIGHT ONES!
  • Send your entries in either hard copy to F16, Preston Technology Centre, Marsh Lane, Preston, PR1 8UQ, or by email to
  • Get them in by the closing date: 28th September 2017
  • Enter several categories – CMN member colleges enjoy reduced fees if they enter 3 or more categories.
  • Make sure you come to the FE First Awards evening at our 30th Annual Conference on Monday 27th November (evening starts at 6.30pm with a reception sponsored by our conference exhibitors.) More about our speakers, topics and how to book at

What last year’s winners said:

“We were thrilled and delighted to receive the Gold FE First Award for our website development project. To be recognised for this work by our peers and to receive Gold against such strong competition meant so much to us.” Chichester College

 “Winning Gold for ‘Marketing Team of the Year’ and Silver for ‘School Leaver Recruitment Campaign’ in 2016 was such a big boost for a small team who have worked tremendously hard to turn the college around…” Lewisham Southwark College

 Our principal was with us at the FE First awards ceremony and was delighted with our achievement. This endorsement has helped us make a business case for further investment … which we will be progressing with this year.” Northampton College

 “Entering the College Marketing Awards is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work your team is carrying out in what are challenging times for both student recruitment and the sector. Being recognised by your peers and the industry gives you the weight to go back and demonstrate the value you bring to your organisation.” Stafford College

If you have any queries about entering the awards, check out the information available at