Further Education College have some fantastic commercial facilities that are open to the public. We collated these services and have found FE colleges offer 1,274 commercial enterprises at 1,298 sites which are open to the public. This includes:
- 345 hair & beauty salons at 227 Colleges
- 129 Nurseries at 99 Colleges
- 280 venues and services for hire at 168 colleges
- 52 Theatres at 50 Colleges
- 244 Restaurants at 196 Colleges
- 31 Travel Agents
- 136 Sports Centres at 108 Colleges
- 23 Florists
“Best kept secrets”
When compiling this data it was not unusual to read that “XYZ service” is the area’s “best kept secret.”Obviously these are not the kind of economic conditions for FE to be having income generating services to be kept as secrets, especially when this need not be the case.
All FE Commercial Services in one place
After looking at this data we are keen to assist colleges’ commercial service and help promote the services that are open to the public.
What we came up with was to pull the information for the various services together and develop a dedicated mobile app and website. This would allow people to see all the services FE has to offer without having to go onto a variety of individual college websites.
This would make the search for services easier for the user and could increase the revenue potential, especially when you consider that FE would then have some of the largest retail outlets. Some services could even rival the largest commercial retail chains in some industries, for example:
- There are 345 FE Hair & Beauty Salons compared with SAKs Salons (120 outlets), which is the largest chain, or
- 136 sports venues almost as many as the largest chain, Fitness First (160 outlets) or twice as many as Bannatynes
Promoted in this way, how much more business could this generate for individual colleges and the sector?
There is a good deal of enthusiasm for this and will develop further based on the feedback that we receive during our consultation with FE Colleges. Please also see our FE Commercial Services Pinterest boards.