The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) are the experts in UK higher education data and the designated data body for England. HESA governs the graduate outcomes survey which is sent to all students 15 months after graduating. The purpose of this survey is to collect data regarding every single student that attends a public university in order to publish accurate reports on graduate outcomes, demographics, and other student trends. The University of Bolton is one of many public universities that submits the graduate outcomes data they receive through the survey to HESA every year. It wasn’t until 2020 that the University of Bolton used Symplicity CareerHub to streamline the way they collected and format the graduate outcomes data.
Prior to using CareerHub, Julie Bateman, Head of Careers and Employability, and Leah Farnworth, Graduate Support Advisor, were inputting the data manually into the HESA portal. This was a tedious and very involved process that took a long time to do. “We have four different cohorts we have to submit data for each year, and they have to be submitted at different times. Some cohorts are a lot bigger than others, so we knew that inputting the data manually wasn’t going to be a sustainable option for our team,” Farnworth noted. The decision to use CareerHub for this process made the most sense, not just from a time-savings standpoint, but from an overall efficiency standpoint. Farnworth added, “One of the main reasons we went with CareerHub is because the system helps us track student journeys better and it made the most sense to track graduate outcomes as well, so all of the data was in one place.”
“I would recommend CareerHub to every institution. We have been happy using the system outside of the graduate outcomes, but it truly has been beneficial to use for HESA.”
Head of Careers and Employability,
University of Bolton
The implementation process of using CareerHub for HESA only took a couple months with the University of Bolton’s team going live with the new system in the summer of 2020. Both Bateman and Farnworth noticed the benefits immediately after launching and were thrilled with the results. “One of our cohorts has around 1600 graduates that we have to put into the HESA system. If I was to manually input that, it would probably take me at least a month. With CareerHub, however, now it only takes about an hour. We’ve saved so much time already by using this system!” Farnworth said. Not only that, but in the University of Bolton’s experience, manually inputting data always comes back with errors which leads to more time spent resolving and manually updating data. With CareerHub, that isn’t an issue as the system accounts for and organises the data correctly the first time.
Another benefit the University of Bolton has experienced since utilising CareerHub for HESA is having all of the data in one place. Through CareerHub, the Careers and Employability team can follow up with the graduates in each cohort and find out how they’re doing or if they need further support after getting a job. Based on the student feedback, Farnworth said, “We can accurately track the student journey by adding any notes into their journal in the journal section or seeing what cohort they belong to or seeing when they’ve graduated and what they’ve been up to. All of the data is accurate and in one place.” Bateman and Farnworth are thrilled to continue using CareerHub for graduate outcomes reporting in 2021 and expect more positive results through continued use.