Friday 29 May 2020

No longer a needle in a haystack!

I’ve been working supporting the HE sector as a consultant for over six years now. Lots of different clients – universities, students’ unions, sector bodies, private firms – and a huge variety of different projects. It’s clear that universities sometimes can benefit from an external perspective – consultants can bring capacity and expertise as well as independence.

Artist Sven Sachsalber searches for a needle in a haystack, so you don't have to...
One of the challenges is to enable universities to find the support that is out there. Google is surprisingly rubbish at finding individual practitioners: there isn’t a shared notion of what search terms to use; and folk who work as student recruitment consultants crowd out other specialties in the search listings. Whilst there are a few big firms, it is often about networks – who knows who, or used to work with someone.  This is very validating when former colleagues recommend you, but its hardly a robust system. And it doesn’t always mean that Universities find the best expertise to help them.

That’s why Andy Youell and I have set up the Directory of Tertiary Education Consultants - - which launches today. (Note: Andy did more of the work for this than I did.) It’s a simple concept – a free-to-use, searchable directory of individual and corporate consultants who can support the HE and FE sectors in the UK. Connecting institutions with those who can support them.

There’s no need to register to search the site; just search. It genuinely is free to the user. You can browse just for interest: the site won’t ask you why you’re visiting!

It’s also free to consultants to register on the site: a simple form to fill in, which is then put on the directory. That’s it. The costs are minimal and we’re happy to bear them ourselves, to provide what we think is a useful site to support the sector.

So here’s my thought for the weekend – check out the directory; bookmark it; and next time someone asks you if “you know anyone who might be able to help with x …” point them to DTEC.