I am often struck by this paradox. Colleges that do not have a CRM system often yearn after one as if it will solve all their problems; and Colleges that do have a CRM system often grumble that it isn't being used. Neither of these positions are absolutely true, I know, but nevertheless I'm sure many of you can identify with the sentiment.

The fact is that for most Colleges employer engagement is a tough gig. Yes, of course you know your existing employer relationships and you try hard to manage them well. And, yes, when employers phone in with enquiries (as they do) either about apprenticeships or training provision you try to be as responsive as you can. But regularly securing new business with 'new' employers doesn't happen as often as you would like. And that's a problem in a world where apprenticeships and training delivery is one of the few ways left for Colleges to grow their income and even more so once the levy arrives and employers can call the shots more than ever.

So what's the answer? Well, I am not going to pretend to know the answer but perhaps the following seven observations may be helpful.

  1. Don't get hung up on CRM systems. It really isn't the place to begin. Accept whatever you have as your starting point (good or bad) and concentrate your time and effort on outward-facing employer activities rather than on internal systems development.
  1. Stop assuming that the customer always knows best. I know that sounds like customer service heresy but just because an employer says they'd like to see five CVs shouldn't stop you from sending the only one good CV that you have. Or just because the employer says they'll get back to you with an interview date shouldn't stop you pestering them for a definite commitment. And start saying No to some of those phoned-in opportunities that you know you are most unlikely ever to fill.
  1. Pick up the phone and have something interesting to talk about. Except perhaps with some larger employers, the apprenticeships system is not usually an easy topic to broach on an initial sales call. Far better, in my opinion, to open with a student looking for work experience in their business or with an apprenticeship learner who especially wants to work for them. Make the call about why that particular individual wants to work there and how they may add value to their business.
  1. Get out of the office. By going on visits to employers you will find out things about their business that you never imagined and you'll be able to spot opportunities for the College that you would never identify over the phone.
  1. Change your mindset to always think of employer engagement in terms of what's in for them. Hence why you'll find far more apprenticeship opportunities if at the same time you talk to the same employer about work experience placements or part-time jobs for students whilst at College or full-time jobs for students when they finish.
  1. Make it fun. Everyone knows that people buy from people, so make use of your personality. Fair enough not everyone will click with your particular sense of humour etc., but some will.
  1. And finally, make it fast. Time is money and employers generally want to work with someone who follows through on their promises quickly. Private training providers know this and Colleges need to start beating them at their own game


You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Reading Ojo App | Students Factory

A unique gaming App developed to inspire the reading habit...

Laveena Nair had a status update on Twitter 7 hours 19 minutes ago
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 18 hours 2 minutes ago

Digifest 2021 expo orientation

Get a first look at the Digifest 2021 expo area, as well as useful information on how to move around and explore the interactive elements.

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page