Customer Case Study: Blackpool and the Fylde College - Dynamics 365 Education

Blackpool and the Fylde College

I feel that Active Informatics has a shared goal with us, almost as if they are one of the team

Paul Dewhurst

Chief Information Officer, Blackpool and the Fylde College

A Dynamics 365 Education case study:


Blackpool and the Fylde College (B&FC) is ranked in the top 3% of Further Education colleges in England.  A Regional Teaching Partner of Lancaster University, the college offers full and part-time Further Education, Higher Education and vocational courses along with apprenticeships.

Their challenge

B&FC offers more than 100 apprenticeships across 18 different career areas and works with over 1800 employers. Originally relying on a legacy system along with paper and spreadsheets, the management of their apprenticeships was becoming difficult as their provision was growing substantially. A suitable online solution was required – one that was flexible yet robust in order to manage apprenticeships and employer engagement activities; with the potential to expand more widely to encompass wider college functions.

The solution

Paul Dewhurst (CIO) and team initially evaluated a number of Microsoft partners including some international/large consultancies. “We assessed all the partners on their existing offering, their presentation, how well they understood us and the financial proposals”. It was decided that Active offered the right mix of expertise and cultural fit.

The first phase of the project was to customise the base CRM functionality to fit the apprenticeship recruitment process including agreements, apprentice and apprenticeship information and integration to an online apprenticeship recruitment portal. The project quickly developed a broader scope, with the college wanting the solution extended to incorporate student support (including referrals and support needs assessment) and support provision planning. “The wider student recruitment piece is next which will involve all curriculum areas and other support teams such as careers and progress coaches. We will look to incorporate more functionality to complement our existing student records system in the areas of pastoral support and for the system to grow and adapt in line with business needs”.

The Dynamics 365 Education solution built for B&FC is an example of the range of functionality Active can provide using Dynamics 365. Each system is slightly different and built to the precise needs of the college, meaning the impact of the solution can be felt immediately.

The results

For Paul and his team, the main benefit of choosing Dynamics 365 Education has been the ability to design the system to meet their own needs – a system that is process driven rather than data driven. This is helping staff to work much more effectively, taking the right action at the right time.  “The main benefit is that we have been able to build a customer-centric system that helps people do their jobs rather than being just another data collection tool, in turn, this helps users do the right thing in the right sequence at the right time, streamlining inter-departmental communications. Lastly, we now have shared visibility of our recruitment pipeline which allows us to spend more time driving growth rather than collecting and analysing data from different sources”.

Paul also appreciates how user friendly the system is.  “It’s a quick tool to get used to using, navigation for users is quite natural and the fact that Dynamics 365 sits neatly alongside Office 365 means users can work with familiar tools such as Outlook and Excel whilst having the data stored in Dynamics”.


If you are thinking about upgrading your CRM or need a new way of managing your apprenticeships and employer engagement please get in touch! We’d be delighted to run through the system with you and show you the benefits of switching.

Dynamics 365 Education for Apprenticeships & Employer Engagement