Your destination data collection is ineffective: Three steps to successful destination analysis

As the UK’s economy grows and diversifies, the role of the Further Education sector is becoming increasingly focused on getting young people into long-lasting employment.

The challenge for FE institutions – especially in the face of fresh financial constraints – is to demonstrate where their students are going after they leave, and which subjects are giving students a strong start to a long and successful career.

Government research and statistics are not, generally speaking, comprehensive or far-reaching enough to give institutions the reliable data they need. So what’s the solution? Here’s what we’ve learned from conducting successful destination analysis for our clients for the last three years.

Focus on Adult Learning analysis

While destination data for 16- to 18-year-olds is a focus for FE institutions, many don’t consider their adult learning provision.

Over half of students in FE are adult students, most of whom are retraining, undertaking an apprenticeship, or gaining additional qualifications to advance their career. Yet many colleges aren’t tracking their adult learners sufficiently.

By conducting destination analysis on adult learners, and continuing that analysis beyond simply the first destination, you can refine your course provision and demonstrate real value to your students.

Maintain a relationship with your students

Tracking a student’s first destination may work for Higher Education, but FE’s focus on maintaining adult skills means that continued tracking is required.

This is where investing in alumni engagement can prove invaluable, building a relationship between a learner and their college that can be maintained and developed over many years.

This relationship not only gives you an accurate picture of your students’ progression through their career, it can also help you identify what courses or further training they may need in the future – improving curriculum planning and course provision.

Incentivise participation

When it comes to online destination surveys, there isn‘t an FE college out there that hasn’t struggled to get a sufficient response from former students.

Through conducting some three years of destination analysis with our clients, we’ve found that offering students an incentive for completing the survey can improve results and give colleges a far more comprehensive set of destination data.

The incentive can be anything from discounts on college courses, to money off college facilities, to a free gift. Anything that gets your students to respond and give you the destination data you need.

Latest Think Alumni news

Think Alumni is delighted to be working with Lewisham Southwark College, delivering a fully managed alumni service for one of London’s largest FE institutions. We’ll work closely with the two colleges to create active, engaged alumni communities that benefit students and the colleges alike. Read more here

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