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Your training needs: what we’ve learnt so far part two

In our latest blog, we’re sharing what we’ve learnt from our latest set of provider training needs surveys. You will have hopefully seen these surveys in the Training update or in the HESA weekly update. These surveys provide you with an opportunity to share your thoughts on our training provision. You can complete them anonymously - we simply ask you to share how you found a particular collection, what helped you, what training you would appreciate and what you found challenging.

A vital part of the process is for us to let you know how we’ve used your insights so this blog shares what we’ve learnt from the surveys of five further collections. We’d like to thank everyone for taking part and without further ado, here’s how we’re putting your feedback into action:

C20031 Finance

We had very little engagement with the Finance survey but appreciate the thoughts of the providers who did respond. You told us that it helps that the table comes pre-populated with last year’s figures and the relatively static nature of the collection year on year makes it easier. You said you would be keen to establish a working group per region and get together with likeminded colleagues to discuss best practice. Is this something you also would be keen on? Let us know at [email protected].

C20032 Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI)

We were positively surprised with the number of responses and we have learned a lot. We now know that most of you have used the coding manual, HESA website and the Liaison team’s support to prepare and submit data. A few of you completed available e-learning and thought it was useful and timely. There was also a group who relied on internal guides and years of experience.

Like in the Finance return, you found it useful to have last year’s figures displayed for guidance and it makes it easier when guidance stays unchanged. Many of you identified definitions of categories as being challenging, especially dealing with guidance, which is not clear enough or open for interpretation. The biggest challenge was gathering data from across your provider. Given the HE-BCI record is currently undergoing a major review, we hope we can address some, if not all, of your challenges.

You felt that the training delivered in the autumn either as an e-learning course or live webinars could have addressed the majority of questions or knowledge gaps. We plan more engagement next year and we will take your preferences under consideration.

C20042 Estates Management record (EMR)

Most respondents identified as having advanced knowledge of the record and had worked for more than three years in their roles. Because of this experience, you told us you have relied on your own knowledge and used the coding manual and HESA website to prepare. Few of you completed our e-learning course, but some weren’t aware of its availability.

As with any other returns, you appreciate when there are few changes to the record or process – this makes things easier. Regardless of your knowledge of the record, you found the complexity of some fields and their coverage most challenging, and you were worried that once the deadlines are back to their pre-pandemic cycle you will struggle to meet them. Also, collaborating with new colleagues and gathering data from others makes it harder to work on the return.

The majority of you felt that questions you had during submission could have been addressed through training. You told us you would like to have an option of live training to interact with other providers and get instant answers to your questions. Some of you prefer e-learning as you can do it in your own time. We’ve made some improvements to the EMR e-learning course based on your feedback, so it’s worth checking it or recommending it to your new colleagues and others involved in the return.

We aim to bring live courses back next year, so we can accommodate all your learning preferences. We announce newly released events in our monthly Training update and in the meantime you can read a recent HESA blog ‘How can statistics support the education sector in its aim to cut carbon emissions?

C21041 Provider Profile

Like the Finance survey, we had little engagement with this survey. You told us that thanks to the tools provided by HESA, the return is relatively easy. The challenging part is gathering and checking information internally, especially if you are a big provider. Since the collection is a short, annual activity, you like having e-learning available to act as a recap before you need to engage again.

C22061 Unistats

We received a lot of informative feedback from this survey, including the fact that the linking nature with other collections and data can sometimes be confusing, especially when having to consider that linked data when quality assuring your own data or viewing outputs. This is something we are considering for future guidance and training.

You also told us that sometimes the terminology seems abstract. We’ve been breaking down HESA terminology in our Training update throughout this year, but did you know we also have a glossary on the HESA website? Those who responded to the Unistats survey also provided us with some gold dust we were not expecting - best practice tips! Keep an eye out for the March edition of the Training update when we will share these tips, and others, ahead of the C23061 collection.

Laptop computer icon to signify the Training team

Training team