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Identifying and prioritising problems and riskiest assumptions for 2024

The issue

This cycle has seen an increase in applications, most notably from international candidates. So far this cycle, we have already recorded 43,095 applications from domestic candidates, and 46,172 applications from international candidates.

The increase is creating extra workload for some providers. International applications can also take longer to process as providers are required to determine the equivalency of their qualifications.

There has been confusion for international candidates around the different pathways to teaching in the UK. For example, whether providers offer visa sponsorship, what the deadlines are for applications from overseas, and when a course is full.

Candidates are also struggling to understand qualification equivalencies and finding the right course for them.

What we did

As the user group has changed significantly from when the product was originally designed, we decided to follow steps in the alpha phase to help set the direction.

First, we wrote out all the problems statements we could potentially tackle, and what evidence we had to support them.

We then followed guidance by Harry Vos at GDS to prioritise the riskiest assumptions we had for each problem statement.

Screenshot of key stages in the candidates journey with problem statements and assumptions mapped along the journey

Scoring assumptions as a team gave a sense of ownership and increased the shared understanding of the problem space.

We now know our riskiest assumptions, and we have five problem statements to focus on.

Screenshot of the team's five chosen problem statements alongside the strategy and vision for 2024

Our problem statements are:

  • Unsuitable/ineligible candidates are applying and reapplying
  • International candidates have a poor conversion rate, and will not be processed in time
  • Providers are receiving a high volume of applications
  • Candidates struggle to find the right course for them to apply for
  • International candidates struggle to apply

By focussing on solving these problems, we aim to meet our overall vision:

To enable suitable candidates to confidently find and apply for the right course, reduce the number of unsuitable candidates applying, and support providers to confidently manage their workload and successfully assess applications.

Next steps

We plan to achieve this by focussing both on implementing changes that have an immediate impact for candidates and providers during the current cycle, and identifying how we can improve the experience for candidates and providers next cycle.