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Your training needs: what we’ve learnt so far

In December 2021, we launched a new series of provider feedback surveys to understand which parts of the HESA collection cycle are the most challenging and why, and whether our existing training products can be improved. This would enable us to launch new courses to support your needs even further.

We’d like to thank everyone for taking part in the first six of these training needs surveys. An important part of the feedback process is feeding back to you what we’ve learnt from your responses and how we’re putting this into action. Here is what we have learnt from each collection’s survey so far:


During the latest collection cycle, providers used the coding manual and HESA website to help them complete the return. Live webinars were identified as the preferred method of learning as it provides an opportunity to network and exchange experiences around data and systems with peers. We are hoping to be back on the road next year, bringing back face-to-face discussion and once again connecting the Staff community.

You told us you’d like to see more on credibility reporting, sharing best practice, dealing with errors and accessing information on changes as early as possible. We hope the format of the latest post-collection sessions gave you all you needed, but we will aim to make further improvements. Some providers also identified a need for an introductory bespoke training to their whole teams. This is our recommendation too, as awareness of HESA requirements across the provider can significantly improve data quality.


The coding manual and HESA website have proven to be a strong source of information and guidance to assist with the return of the Student record. The post-collection webinar received mixed feedback with the expression for more time within the session for provider discussion. This is something we will take on board for future implementation, with the hope that we will be able to start live delivery soon. E-learning is deemed a valuable tool, so we will continue to ensure this is updated with key changes to the record.

Student Alternative

New staff find that HESA language can be challenging to understand. In future issues of the Training update (our monthly training newsletter), we will break some of this terminology down so make sure you sign up to receive it. Some providers have questions or scenarios specific to their provider and want provider-specific training where they can explore in more detail and this is exactly what our bespoke training offers.


From providers’ responses, this return has generally been very straightforward. One provider expressed a challenge relating to their own internal system with configuration concerns, and another felt they experienced a challenge in relation to identifying categories of students who study overseas, and the identification of these students internally. We will look to incorporate this into the e-learning to provide some clarity. Both our e-learning and coding manual have again proven to be sufficient support within this return.

Graduate Outcomes

The coding manuals, e-learning materials and HESA website have all proven to be an asset for acquiring information and guidance to assist with the return of the two Graduate Outcomes records. However, it would still seem advantageous to attend bespoke training. Using all three sources of training, namely e-learning in conjunction with the live webinars and bespoke training, seems still to be the best practice for learning and understanding the complexity of the records. Once again, new staff have found HESA language challenging to understand so you’ll see this explored in more detail in an upcoming Training update.

There has been a request from the sector for training on how to use the survey results data and providing knowledge on where to find the information about it. We are now looking into designing additional training on how HE providers can access and use their Graduate Outcomes survey results data.

How we can help

Numerous providers mentioned wanting tailored training and this is exactly what our bespoke training is designed for. For more information, please visit our bespoke training page and complete an enquiry form or send us an email. If you think this would be a good option for your team please get in touch and we would be more than happy to discuss your training needs with you and do our best to accommodate them. To find out more about our upcoming webinars and e-learning courses, visit our Training page.

Coming soon

Look out for the upcoming release of the training needs assessment surveys for the Finance record and HE-BCI return. We will invite you to complete these surveys in both the Training update and the HESA weekly update and we really appreciate your responses.

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Training team