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Helping students study, work and play at Chichester College

Chichester College is one of the region’s leading further education colleges and offers a broad range of full time and part time courses in a variety of study areas. When the college needed a brand new website, it turned to Carswell Gould.

The challenge was to create a site which appealed to its broad target demographic, that everyone found easy to navigate and could clearly display the rich products, services and information the college offers.

With this front of mind, Carswell Gould implemented a core functionality in order to present information as quickly and easily as possible. This was achieved through live user testing with groups of people within the college’s target demographic, tweaking and updating as required. Through this process, the team came up with an innovative structure that allowed users to find the information they needed simply, implementing a strong conversion platform into course application. This resulted in the site’s ‘Work Play Study’ sections which filter into areas such as course details, application forms and facilities. 


·      Built on Drupal 7 (a CMS) to allow the college to administer all of the content

·      Uses Apache Solr search engine to provide advanced, faceted course searches

·      Custom integrations with the colleges back end system to synchronise and manage courses

·      Customised online application process for prospective students to apply for new courses online

·      Application process ties in with the colleges back end system which saves time and improves data quality against their previous manual processing methods

·      Permissions and moderation system allows different departments to manage and moderate their own content within the site

Since its build, Chichester College has seen a like-for-like increase of applications of 43%. There were over 80 applications recorded in its first day. The hard work put into this project has resulted in the site scooping gold at this year’s FE First College Marketing Network awards in the Website Development category.

The simplified navigation and structure of the site means users can find the information they require easily, displayed in a vibrant and concise way. This translates into an uplift of course applications.

The integration of the site with the college’s systems has helped support it to be a more efficient institution, allowing the college to save on money and resources, removing the manual process of delivery for courses.

In addition, the new search engine functionality allows previously hidden smaller and more niche courses to be found easily. These are now seeing an increase in applications.

Julie Kapsalis, Vice-principal at Chichester College, said:

"The redesign and build of Chichester College's website was one of our most significant investments in marketing and communications. We were delighted to appoint Carswell Gould after a thorough procurement process.

"The team at Carswell Gould have been both supportive and challenging to ensure we built the best solution for our complex business needs. The team adeptly managed my obsession with 'look and feel' with the need to implement a solution that integrated a myriad of systems and data and that met the needs of a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

"The new site has been a step change in our approach to marketing, communications and customer engagement and is central to our growth ambitions. With 15,000 students a year and a portfolio of successful commercial businesses, Chichester College is committed to providing outstanding teaching and learning.”

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