About Gower College
Gower College Swansea is a leading education provider in South Wales which offers a range of courses both full time and part-time, such as A levels, apprenticeships, vocational studies as well as employment-related training. Boasting 9 different sites, the college is experiencing rapid growth and increasingly becoming a reputable and respected college nationally.
Offering almost 40 A-Level subjects (many of which are not offered at GCSE) and 40 vocational subject choices so, whatever your interest, they will have a suitable course for you. In 2020, the College celebrated its strongest set of exam results. At A-Level, the pass rate at grades of A*-C was 93% and at grades, A*-A the pass rate was 45%. Across the broad range of vocational courses, 64% of students achieved at least one Distinction.
Due to the diverse range of courses and students, the requirements vary for the college, but ultimately, they sought a solution that allowed them to provide a foundation on which their students could thrive and access top quality technology. The aims of the project were to reduce telecoms costs, improve resilience and obtain the ability to provide staff and students with best in class Unified Communications and collaboration across a wide range of devices. To do this, the College was looking to replace two separate systems; an LG Nortel ipLDK300 at the Gorseinon campus and a Nortel CS1000 at the Tycoch campus as part of a general improvement and modernisation.
The existing phone system was housed at the front of the main Tycoch site which was to be demolished and rebuilt as part of a building extension and improvement. Because of the aggressive timescales of the building works Gower College Swansea had to very quickly go to tender, select a supplier and then deploy the solution in double-quick time. GCS were very careful to select a provider with a proven track record of delivering similar deployments under challenging time constraints. There was also a major fire in the college the day before Go-Live which posed a real challenge that Gower College and Wavenet had to work together to overcome.
The solution was a Mitel on-premise telephone system comprised of highly available physical appliances, combined with virtualised, software only elements. Together, these components delivered state of the art communication and collaboration capability for staff and students.
This solution was also complimented by full on-site project management, implementation, training, out-of-hours cutover and go-live support. The solution also delivered significant savings by reducing ongoing maintenance and administration costs. In addition to this, the college was able to modernise its telephone lines by moving away from costly digital ISDN lines to SIP Trunks with free calls to landlines and mobiles. The college has been very satisfied with the return on investment which this project delivered.
The most challenging aspect of the project was a major fire that broke out throughout the college the day before Go-Live. Both Gower College and Wavenet reacted very well indeed to the added pressure of a major fire breaking out the day before go-live. The project team made the necessary changes and Wavenet worked proactively with Gower College in order to establish the extent of the damage and assist them in obtaining the support needed in order to get the project back on track.
The staff at Gower College, together with the Wavenet project team, worked well together in order to ensure that the solution was delivered successfully and on time, in spite of the most challenging circumstances. Staff and students now enjoy the most comprehensive and up-to-date UC solution which is delivering significant savings for the college and enabling agile working practices.
Through our work together Gower College have been able to take advantage of the following results;
Time Savings: With a dedicated account manager and one point of contact, making changes or getting support is quick and easy.
Cost Savings: A modernised telephony solution and no complex costly onsite equipment provides Gower College with substantial cost savings.
Usability: With the easy configuration of the Mitel system and support from Wavenet’s engineers when required, Gower College has a phone system capable of supporting their business now and in the future.
"The agility the Mitel system provided meant the college had the additional flexibility required to seamlessly transition to remote working during the pandemic" - Richard Thorne, Computer Services Manager, Gower College Swansea