Over recent months, University Campus Barnsley (UCB) on Church Street has been going through a rebranding exercise. The consultation has included discussions with a wide range of people in a variety of ways, including with staff at development sessions, with students and non-users and with governors.
The UCB rebrand came about following a specified recommendation from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) – an independent monitoring body for Higher Education (HE) institutions. The QAA said that it was not clear to students where they were studying when they came to UCB.
Barnsley College took over the running and management of UCB from the University of Huddersfield in 2013. Since then, UCB has only existed as the name of the building – the provision has always been run by Barnsley College and this what QAA deemed to be confusing.
Both current and prospective students need to be crystal clear that they are not coming to a university, rather they are coming to a high-performing College, rated Outstanding by Ofsted, which offers degree, HNC/D and Higher Apprenticeship courses validated by various other universities and awarding bodies. The validation will remain the same after the rebrand. Students will get exactly the same qualifications and have the same opportunities of employment as they would have previously had.
To aid the decision making, a survey was conducted by an independent research company with both UCB and Barnsley College students and non-users of the brands within a 40-mile radius of Barnsley. These surveys had a 95% confidence factor and were carried out in accordance with the Market Research Society (MRS) Code of Conduct.
The results show us that Barnsley College ranks much higher than UCB when non-users are asked about local institutions where they would consider studying HE (Barnsley College ranked sixth, while UCB ranked 17th out of 21 colleges and universities). These people are not UCB or BC students, they are people who are interested in returning to HE in the future – our future target market.
Both UCB students (7%) and non-users (11%) also said that university status is not an important deciding factor when choosing a place to study. Rather, courses (60%) and location (44%) are the important things. These will remain the same.
The results show us the UCB brand is weak when compared to the College brand and so we are bringing the HE provision into the College brand and it will be known as Barnsley College – Higher Education.
All staff and students had a chance to vote on their preferred logo and the chosen version, which won with 57% of the vote, can be seen here. The brand changes will be rolled out over the coming months with the aim that everything is changed ready for the next HE Open Day in June.
We would like to reiterate that the brand change will have no impact whatsoever upon the HE provision on offer. The courses will be run in the same way, taught by the same people in the same location, with the same validated qualifications upon completion. The only change will be to the institution’s name to make it clear to students that they are studying at Barnsley College, as they have been since 2013. This will allow us to meet the QAA’s specified recommendation and ensure that all students can make a properly informed choice of where to study HE.