The professionalisation of university admissions will begin in earnest next week with the launch of training courses aimed at admissions staff.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has developed the courses with Universities UK to help meet government demands for institutions to employ a fair and transparent admissions process.
The four courses will offer admissions staff the chance to gain qualifications by demonstrating a range of knowledge, understanding, skills and competence in the following areas:
- Managing the recruitment and admissions service
- Making decisions on applications
- Processing applications
- Supporting the admissions process.
Ucas is developing the learning modules in these areas in cooperation with institutions that include Russell Group members, a post-1992 institution, a college of higher education and a further education college.
Some 24 course units will be piloted in autumn. Ucas hopes the qualifications will then be validated by a group of universities and colleges.
The government previously warned institutions that they had to guarantee to students that their admissions processes were fair and reliable whether or not the institution wanted to introduce top-up fees.
Steven Schwartz, vice-chancellor of Brunel University, has been charged with identifying and disseminating good practice. His group is scheduled to meet for the first time this week. Referring to the Ucas course, he said:
"It's a very good idea, and one that will be welcomed."
Ucas also plans to launch a national consultation on the courses and to investigate whether any further areas need to be developed.