London – 13 April, 2015 – With severe budget cuts putting educators across the UK under unprecedented financial strain this year, organisations are under more pressure than ever before to optimise the efficiency of their resources and find new revenue sources.
Further education institutes in particular face a grave situation as the government revealed it would cut 25 per cent of the Adult Skills Budget funding non-academic education for over-19s, on top of overall further education budgets falling by a third since 2010.
With estates standing as the second most costly asset after staff salaries, and space maintenance, and management alone estimated to be 10 per cent of total income , Paul Statham, CEO of workspace utilisation and space scheduling market leader Condeco Software, believes efficient use of property must be a priority in coping with the budget crisis.
He comments: “Millions of pounds are being wasted every year on space that spends much of its time standing empty, from underused lecture halls or meeting facilities, to dedicated desks for staff that spend most of their day elsewhere. With the financial situation looking so dire over the next few years, institutions must ensure they are wringing every drop of value from their estates as they fight to stay in the black.”
Room sharing in particular has been highlighted as a leading area for institutions to cut down on expense, with research from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands finding that universities could cut their estates footprint by as much as 25 per cent by having staff share offices and teaching rooms.
Condeco Software has helped institutions including Bourneville College and the prestigious Salford University campus in Media City, Manchester take control of their real estate and implement efficient space sharing systems with a suite of market-leading technology. Its solutions in room and desk booking and space measurement have also delivered millions in annual savings for some of the world’s biggest companies, including 30 of the FTSE 100.
Institutions are able to create a flexible, agile learning environment by incorporating Condeco’s high quality display screens outside rooms, including the lecture theatres, enabling staff to securely and quickly book spaces with an RFID login or to check on existing bookings and to free up space when they and their students vacate a room. Larger screens can collate information from each room so that students are able to find out what room they should be in, as well as alerting staff to potentially unused rooms. This information can then be analysed by the management team to discover how the building is being used, helping them to make strategic decisions about how to optimise the building to cut costs and meet demand for space.
Paul adds: “As well as cutting down wasted space, underused areas and timetable gaps can be transformed into a powerful revenue stream by hiring the space out to external users who are keen to make use of their state-of-the-art facilities. Providing a high quality education is the obvious priority for any institute, and scheduling technology can ensure that third party hire gels smoothly with on-going timetables and has no impact on space for teaching and study.”