Training and Development Agency for Schools -
Return to Teaching
The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) was established by government in the early 1990’s with the objective of increasing the number of applicants into the teaching profession. Acting as a first point of contact for those interested in teaching, the Agency generated responses through ongoing national, multi-channel recruitment campaigns.
The TDA provides in depth training and support services to help prospective teachers either to embark on a teaching a career or to return to the classroom after a career break. The disposition of course provision and support is aligned around 150 Local Authority (LA) districts, allocated into nine Government Office Regions (GOR).
The complexity of the task to encourage teaching candidates is exacerbated by the need to fill shortage area criteria including:
• Maths and Science vacancies
• Inner City school vacancies
• Supply a suitable mix from ethnic minority candidates
• Increase the number of males teaching in Primary schools
• Increase the overall number of secondary school teachers
EWA Service Delivery
EWA is commissioned by the TDA to provide a Contact Centre to support teachers returning to the profession - commencing from first enquiry through their ‘journey’ into securing teaching posts. Highly trained and experienced Contact Centre Advisers provide tailored advice, guidance and information to inform enquirers fully of next steps.
The Contact Centre is flexibly managed to respond to peaks of enquiry traffic, where additional support is provided through trained EWA ‘bureau’ services. Initial enquiries are driven by media advertising, which is conducted seasonally to meet course recruitment schedules.
Enquirers are ‘qualified’ through a series of criteria that determines their individual treatment through the recruitment process including:
• Subject skills
• Time out of teaching
• Phase taught (Primary or Secondary)
• Ethnic background
• Commitment to return
Candidates meeting shortage criteria are taken through a series of CRM steps appropriate to their individual situation involving courses; ‘live’ classroom experience; and information provision to encourage them in their respective journeys.
Contact Centre Advisers act as mentors to each candidate, liaising with course providers; LA’s and schools to ensure a seamless process. Through outbound contact, Advisers maintain the momentum of each candidate journey to maximise the progression of leads to successful conclusion. This involves overcoming objections; bolstering confidence; and dispensing other persuasive ideas or incentives to re-commence a teaching career. Candidates of lower priority are handled with the same exemplary level of service but are dealt with more pragmatically, where advice is dispensed within a single call and candidates are sign-posted to self-help sources, e.g. website, local LA career office, etc.
The Contact Centre is responsible for coordination of activities including:
• Passing leads and pre-qualified candidate data to local course providers
• Managing the number of candidates being ‘pushed’ for localised action to ensure seasonal & annual quotas are met
• Setting up interviews for job vacancies with LA’s and schools
EWA hosts and manages the TDA CRM database, in this case developed by EWA. The database contains functions to ensure core data population and integrity at source; and a series of business rules that help Advisers correctly qualify candidates before advising next steps or actions.
The Contact Centre operates to programme SLA’s and KPI’s including – call response times, turnaround times for enquiries, email composition, number and quality of candidates promoted to courses and job vacancies, etc. The success of the service in meeting targets and service quality is measured through mystery shopping and regular attitude surveys.
Contact Centre Knowledge Base
Customer Advisers provide detailed advice, information and guidance to help candidates understand the requirements and obligations of a return to teaching.
Advisers undergo extensive training covering:
• The various stages into teaching
• The wide spectrum of criteria that determine a tailored approach to each candidate
• Government related policy
• The stakeholder structure and referral process for local activities, e.g. course provision, vacancy tracking, etc.
• How to complete a teaching CV and job vacancy form
Written and verbal communication must be absolutely clear and articulate, consequently Advisers are carefully selected and vetted at recruitment and tested during probation to ensure job knowledge and quality standards are met and ongoing monitoring and feedback is utilised to ensure these are maintained.
All campaign responses and enquiries are captured in a TDA CRM database by source and activity to maintain a record of communications by individual.
Contact Centre Technical Environment
IVM technology is employed to distribute respective TDA enquiries into the contact centre. IVR facilities are activated for out of hour periods; as back-up during peaks and simultaneous call traffic; and for recording calls to support customer service validation and training.
Email traffic is routed and managed through EWA’s email management system according to candidate ‘type’ and source – e.g. web registration, media code, etc. The CRM database is connected to TDA’s enquirer website and extranet site, thus automating capture of registrations and allocation of leads to course providers by location.
The end-user database features business rules that automatically filter candidates into segments by:
• Shortage criteria
• Status of candidate in relation to proposed individual journey – e.g. go straight to course; course unnecessary due to short period out of teaching; go direct to job vacancy; sign-post to self help, etc.
• A contact scheduler that allows pre-booking of follow up contact by time and channel to suit the candidate or stakeholder (e.g. Provider).
Standard reporting is provided covering:
• Call Centre throughput and performance
• Inbound and outbound traffic volumes - nationally, regionally and by entity, e.g. LA, candidate, etc.
• Campaign statistics including responses, leads, etc.
EWA has been working in partnership with the Training and Development Agency for Schools for over fifteen years, providing an exemplary, flexible and knowledgeable contact centre service. By policy TDA is not allowed to provide testimonials, however with TDA’s permission EWA is able to publish performance metrics in relation to contracts managed by them as follows:
In the most recent six monthly review of services undertaken by EWA for TDA’s Return to Teaching programme, the company scored an unprecedented 100% in fully meeting its contracted performance. The criteria and conditions in which this performance is judged are comprehensive and include KPI’s and SLA’s relating to:
• Customer service standards
• Targets for recruitment of returning teachers back into the profession
• Response rates from pro-active activities (e.g. surveys)
• Continuing to enhance services to maximise impact whilst minimising client side resource demands.
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