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Information for English Further Education Colleges

Welcome to Graduate Outcomes

We’ve created this page to outline the key information English Further Education Colleges (EFECs) need to know about the Graduate Outcomes survey and their roles and responsibilities. This page links to existing information about the survey on the HESA website.

Quick links: Provider portal  |  IDS roles  |  Deadlines  |  Provider roles and responsibilities  |  Contact details  |  The records  |  Promotion of Graduate Outcomes  |  How we communicate with you  |  Websites and resources  |  Training  |  Liaison  |  Final data delivery and statistical outputs


Provider portal

The Graduate Outcomes provider portal is a purpose-built system where providers will upload and quality assure their contact details data, add personalisation to the survey, find information on their response rates and download survey data.

Make sure you take the time to log in and get familiar with the main areas, especially where you'll need to take action. Depending on your role, you may have a number of vital actions which are all completed in the portal. The user guide provides step by step instructions, including screenshots, of the main actions completed in the portal.


IDS roles

The HESA Identity System (IDS) enables users to access the Graduate Outcomes provider portal. Users are assigned IDS roles and each role has different access rights within the portal.

Please note - that users must accept their IDS roles before they will be able to access the provider portal.

The most important role is the Graduate Outcomes English FEC Record Contact. This role coordinates the interaction of a provider with the Graduate Outcomes provider portal including the assignment of other IDS roles to individuals at the provider. Every provider must have one Record Contact and this role will be issued by HESA. The chart below shows the roles assigned by the Record Contact and the tasks they are responsible for. 

EFEC roles diagram

An additional role, the Graduate Outcomes English FEC Admin, does not allow access to the provider portal, however it allows individuals to assign other HESA Identity System roles to themselves and others at their provider. It is best practice that someone at your provider holds this role.





There are a number of important dates within the collection schedule that you need to meet. If you miss these deadlines, it may mean that the surveying of your graduates will be delayed. This means we will not have the entire fieldwork period to obtain their responses.

The most important deadline you must meet is the ‘approval deadline’ for each cohort. Although contact details supplied by EFECs are automatically approved in the provider portal, providers still need to take action to check that the contact details are accurate and up-to-date. Contact detail records can only be approved once they have no quality rule errors associated with them and they are at the ‘Awaiting Approval’ stage.

Where a record triggers a quality rule error or a new or updated contact detail is provided, they will not be automatically approved. Providers will need to resolve the error and re-approve.

Important approval process change

From the C19071 collection, the auto approval function will no longer run for English FECs. This means providers must visit the provider portal by the appropriate deadline and complete the approval process.

We notified providers of this change by email on 23 March 2020 and remind EFECs by email at regular opportunities. 

About the approval process

Before valid graduate contact details can be used for the Graduate Outcomes survey, they must be approved by the submitting provider. HESA advises all providers by email when the functionality to approve graduates has been switched on – approximate timings are provided in the data collection schedule (see below). Graduate contact details records can only be approved once they have no quality errors associated with them and they are at the ‘Awaiting Approval’ stage on the progress bar. This activity should be completed by the English FEC Contact Details user.
Please ensure that you:

If, from the C19071 collection, your provider’s contact details are not approved by the deadlines advised, they cannot be used for surveying. This means your graduates will not be surveyed until contact details have been approved. We will be providing the C19071 collection schedule later in the year and will advise you when it has been released. If you have any questions about this, please contact Liaison.

Meeting these deadlines is a statutory requirement and the OfS may monitor them to ensure all providers carry out activities that are vital to the success of the survey. Contact Liaison if you need help with meeting the deadlines.

Make sure all of the dates are in your diary and that the colleagues involved in carrying out activities are also aware. We will send reminders to you via email in the lead up to these deadlines.

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Provider roles and responsibilities

Our model of open centralisation places much of the responsibility for administering the Graduate Outcomes survey on HESA, with the support of a number of suppliers. It therefore aims to take the burden of collection away from providers.

However, providers will have certain actions they will need to complete to ensure we have accurate and comprehensive data.

data protection

Graduate Outcomes contact details

ILR data journey

To show you the journey of the contact details used for EFECs for Graduate Outcomes, we’ve created a data journey visual. This helps to understand who does what and when:

Contact details flow diagram


Due to this process, once the contact details arrive at HESA, they can be out of date so it’s vitally important that EFECs are aware of their responsibilities around improving the quality of these contact details.

Although contact details supplied by EFECs are automatically approved in the provider portal, providers still need to take action to check that the contact details are accurate and up-to-date. Providers have access to a wealth of supporting materials to assist them in returning details accurately and in a timely manner. See the section important approval process change above for more information on the change to this process for C19071. 

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The records

Contact details record

The Graduate Outcomes Contact Details Record Coding Manual (relevant year's version) contains information and guidance to help you complete the return including support guides, collection key dates, data items and the quality rules directory.

The main page of each coding manual provides the majority of the links and other useful information you’ll need. You can keep up to date on changes in the revision history page.

Survey results record

The Graduate Outcomes Survey Results Record Coding Manual (relevant year's version) provides the response data collected during the surveying of graduates across four cohorts. The coding manual includes the file structures for downloadable files including data supply and SIC and SOC data supply, data fields specifications, derived fields specifications, valid entries, and guidance to use the raw and final survey data (depending on the collection year).

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Promotion of Graduate Outcomes

Providers play a vital part in the success of Graduate Outcomes. It’s important that providers are engaging with the cohort population directly in the build up to the contact period commencing. Direct contact with graduates must not take place once HESA has started surveying the cohort.

We know from our work looking at response rates, that engagement with the online survey is dependent on recognition of the Graduate Outcomes brand. Providers play a key role in legitimising the online survey via their own direct and trusted engagement routes. We have provided lots of information and resources to support your promotional activity:


How we will communicate with you

As part of our communications strategy, HESA releases regular communications to providers by email to ensure important operational details about the survey are shared, as well as a range of best practice and additional support.

These communications are sent via email to the appropriate IDS role(s) as relevant - we will clearly outline on the communication who it has been sent to. Record contacts will receive all communications. The other roles will receive communications that are relevant to that role.

  • Please look out for emails from [email protected] as these will contain important information and may require action.

In addition, the HESA weekly update (sent every Thursday) will be sent to you when it relates to collections updates that you are an operational contact for. We will use the weekly update as a summary of the previous week’s communications about Graduate Outcomes. You can also opt in to receiving the weekly update every week.

To share insight with the sector as a whole, formal reviews are also created and shared at key survey milestones. At present, these are at the mid-point and the end of each cohort. They summarise key operational information from the cohort in review and set out the survey changes made for the following cohort. These reviews are sent to providers and added to the HESA website for anyone interested in Graduate Outcomes.

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Websites and resources

HESA website

The HESA website contains both operational design material and functional information about the Graduate Outcomes records. It’s important that you read and familiarise yourself with all of this information, including the coding manuals for each record.

  • Operational design material for providers (This includes information about the survey engagement strategy, survey materials, email samples, communications resources, FAQs, data protection guidance and much more.)

Graduate Outcomes website

This is a graduate facing information site designed to share more about the survey and answer any questions graduates may have about taking part. Graduates will have a link to this site in their email survey invitation.

  • The website is also a resource for providers - it contains useful text to use in your own communications and you can direct graduates here. It also includes the important privacy information. This website is also available in Welsh.

Jiscmail for news and new events and provider dialogue

For news, events, general updates and discussion, join the Graduate Outcomes Jiscmail group. This is a useful group to collate approaches and ideas from other providers.

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HESA offers a number of different ways to upskill on our collections. This ranges from face to face opportunities to free e-learning modules. We are currently developing our suite of e-learning on Graduate Outcome and have the following courses available to view at any time:

Make sure you’re signed up to the Graduate Outcomes Jiscmail group to stay up to date on the latest training events.

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Liaison is our in-house team of expert analysts. They are here to support you throughout the data collection process. If you have any questions or issues, please email [email protected] or call +44 (0) 1242 388 531.

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Final data delivery and statistical outputs

The final delivery of survey data for each collection is expected in Spring of each year. The delivery for 17/18 was completed on 31 March 2020, with a re-delivery issued on 22 May 2020. Visit the the open data - graduates page for Graduate Outcomes statistical releases.