Gloucestershire College

Gloucestershire College is a modern, well equipped college with a thriving community of UK and international students. They offer a range of education and training programmes for school leavers and mature students. There are three campus sites, in Cheltenham, Gloucester and the Forest of Dean. The Student Services centres are open for enquiries between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.


Gloucestershire College had two disparate legacy systems: a Cisco IP platform, providing IP telephony at all of their sites and the main Student Services function, running on a Virgin inbound hosted portal. The Cisco and Virgin technology was not compatible and the Cisco platform was becoming time-consuming logistically and add-ons were expensive to procure. With limited integration options, when an inbound call came in to Student Services and the operative transferred a call, the initial agent’s line remained open for the duration of the transferred call, so they couldn’t log in or log out.

There were also reporting issues as it was never clear when a call was started and when it ended.
A reliable, flexible telephony solution Gloucestershire College required a more intuitive, integrated communications solution, with efficient queueing and call handling functions, as well as more functionality and better reliability. However, with recent Government cuts in Education Services, technology budgets were tightening and the pressure increasing. The college was not averse to a capital investment but no longer wanted to pay ongoing rental fees.

The college turned to Blackstar Solutions who proposed Mitel’s Connect solution. The feature-rich functionality was an attractive option so they decided to deploy Mitel Connect and the Enterprise Contact Centre technology to handle queued calls within Student Services. The main challenge was that Gloucestershire College needed it deployed very quickly. They met with Blackstar Solutions in June 2016 and asked them to develop and migrate a platform for the start of the summer enrolment period. The Mitel Connect telephony solution and ECC were up and running by July 2016, in only four weeks, from the point of order to go live. It was an impressive turnaround which was project managed quickly and seamlessly by Blackstar.


The Mitel solution enables the contact centre technology to fully integrate with the legacy Cisco platform. The Student Services team are using the ShoreTel Connect UC Client, allowing for faster and more efficient communications between staff and students. Blackstar Solutions provided staff training on the new Connect system and contact centre solution, which was very well-received. Blackstar Solutions now provide a full remote and on-site support package for the ShoreTel system and help The College maximise their investment through regular performance reviews.

Future plans

The college are particularly keen to implement Mitel in their IT Service Desk which is currently using Cisco hunt groups to create some routing functionality. Mitel technology would give instant switching and better communication flow. Gloucestershire College are also looking into a new Admissions system, so are in discussions with Blackstar Solutions about integrating it with their CRM function. The advantage with Mitel technology is that it can be easily integrated into Gloucestershire College’s cloud-based CRM system, enabling them to leverage the systems they currently have in a better way.