Futureworks has grown and developed since we began teaching 15 years ago, and is a successful specialist provider of higher education programmes for the creative industries. It has secured a reputation for the quality and standards achieved by its programmes, its graduates and its staff, and its profile with the creative industries in Manchester and the UK.
This Strategic Plan lays out our ambitions and goals for our next stage of development, over a 5-year period. The plan replaces the one previously approved in 2019. The plan has been prepared in consultation with staff and non-executive directors.
The plan reflects our ambitions to continue to mature as a Higher Education Provider and to secure our independence through achieving our own Degree Awarding Powers.
OUR MISSION, VISION & VALUES
Our mission is to provide high quality vocational education which leads to sustainable employment – facilitating the development of creative and entrepreneurial skills enabling our students to contribute culturally to society and economically.
We will continue to provide students with an industry focused curriculum which will assist each student in achieving their maximum potential.
Our vision is to achieve institutional autonomy allowing us greater flexibility to respond to changing industry needs.
We will also continue to mature as an institution through development of our research capabilities and through strategic partnerships with industry, providing better opportunities for our students.
Guided by the following values, we strive to exceed the expectations of our students, staff, and the creative community as a whole:
- To provide our students with the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe, encouraging and supportive environment.
- Building confidence and developing the necessary skills to achieve sustainable employment in a future facing industry.
- Delivering a high-quality student experience in an industry-inspired professional environment.
- Facilitating and fostering teamwork, creativity and innovation.
- To provide an inclusive learning environment which supports students from all backgrounds to achieve their full potential.
STRATEGIC GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
INCREASE INCOME AND IMPROVE PROFITABILITY
- Continuous improvement of all marketing, including social media marketing.
- Improving our approach to monitoring the timing and audience of ads placed.
- Ensuring our portfolio of courses remains competitive.
- Increasing the number of school & college visits, focusing on building strategic partnerships.
- Effective and timely communications with prospective students pre- and post-application.
- Facilitating the effective and timely scheduling of interviews.
- Ensuring the student selection process encourages potential students to become starters.
- Review course structure and content and their potential impact on engagement and retention.
- Ensure the effective monitoring and support of students at risk of disengagement.
- Provision of appropriate mechanisms of student support, ensuring their availability and accessibility.
- Explore ways of strengthening the student community.
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AND FUNDING
Increasing our income will provide us with the resources to fund our Strategic Goals, build our financial reserves, and ensure Futureworks’ ongoing financial sustainability.
To achieve this our key financial objectives are:
- To make the most efficient use of Futureworks’ premises (both at Riverside and Futureworks Studios) by increasing our student intake and improving retention.
- To ensure effective cost management, and achieving efficiencies wherever possible.
In addition, we will look to maximise opportunities to bring in additional sources of income. These include:
- Grant funding from the Office for Students and other public funding.
- Extending our portfolio of courses to include new degree, professional, and business-to-business courses.
ACHIEVING ACADEMIC AND OPERATIONAL INDEPENDENCE
Addressing under resourced teams
- Seeking to address gaps in staff provision, for example in Academic Quality Management,
Sales & Marketing, HR, and IT support.
- Reviewing responsibilities to ensure there is sufficient capacity to support a DAPs application, including contingency planning and rebalancing individual workloads.
Developing existing staff
- Implementation of effective processes for staff appraisal and development.
Formalising our approach to research
- Ensuring that all research is aligned with the strategic aims of the business.
Applying for Degree Awarding Powers
- …and ensuring a successful outcome.
ENHANCING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
Closer relationships with schools, colleges and employers
- Ensuring diversity in our student body, and enabling every student to achieve their maximum potential both before, during and after their time at Futureworks.
Providing more opportunities for the Student Voice to be heard
- Facilitating the capture of the student voice throughout the organisation, both individually and collectively.
- Enabling meaningful interaction with committees, including at Board level, to ensure that Futureworks students play an active role in institutional decision-making and governance.
Reinvestment in learning resources
- Addressing long-standing issues with the procurement process to ensure that learning resource investment is appropriately linked to academic quality requirements.
Building a stronger student community
- Opening new channels for students to contribute to the thinking around what it means to have a Futureworks student community.
- Committing to supporting student community activities both in terms of financial and logistical support.
ASSESSMENT OF STRATEGIC RISK
MONITORING AND REPORTING ON PROGRESS
Implementation of this plan will be monitored using a combination of internally set KPIs and external benchmarks. Progress will be measured at institutional, school and department level, as appropriate.
In monitoring our progress, we will employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative measurements:
- Quantitative monitoring focuses primarily on financial performance, retention, and recruitment data. This information is routinely reported to the Executive and the Board on a regular basis.
- Qualitative monitoring is undertaken through existing continuous monitoring processes, which feed into the governance structure at regular intervals.
The Executive will produce a quarterly progress report against this plan which will be provided to the Board of Directors. The report will also be made available for discussion at staff meetings.