As all marketers and recruiters within the sector know, it is not just the course they are selling when it comes to attracting new students. The prestige of the institution and quality of the course and teachers is important, but it is the whole package that students are after, including the social and cultural experience.
With the UK suffering the highest fatalities in Europe due to coronavirus, the attraction of a British higher education does not seem quite so appealing any more, especially for international students.
Overcoming the health and safety objection is now a major factor in convincing many that it will be safe to come and study.
Universities have already implemented their interpretation of the governments rules to safely reopen. However, some education sites have done more than others, and those that have will find themselves with a distinct advantage when it comes to winning this crucial argument.
One such health and safety advantage is total surface protection (TSP). The technology works by creating a long-lasting antimicrobial/antivirus coating that can be applied onto all surfaces including tables, desks, chairs, door handles, walls and even fabrics. It is already being successfully deployed now in parts of the NHS and it is effective against coronavirus.
The current rules for the education sector only require enhanced cleaning on key touch points, which many argue does not come close to providing proper protection. Most estates directors were given clear instructions to keep spending to a minimum– as TSP was not a government requirement, it seemed like an overspend at the time, so a lot of sites have still not deployed it. This presents a clear advantage to those that have. The virus is spread through airborne inhalation and surface contamination. TSP removes one of the two ways it can be spread, significantly reducing infections, helping to prevent a second wave and saving lives.
Besides the obvious increased health and safety benefits, marketers looking for ways to make their university stand out from the competition are now realising the advantage of having TSP on site, when it comes to attracting new students.
One company at the forefront of providing these solutions is Corona Busters Ltd (part of the Ideal Response Group), who have been providing Covid-19 decontamination services and long-lasting total surface protection solutions for the NHS and health sector. CEO and co-founder Wahid Ahmed explains: “Conventional cleaning of all surfaces is both time and cost prohibitive. This solution overcomes both problems. As only one application is required to provide five months of total surface protection, this saves both time and money while providing the highest level of certified protection”.
The company recently received confirmation that their five month long-lasting TSP solution is effective against coronavirus, and have begun offering this cost-effective solution to the education sector. They have already successfully treated and protected several sites and, with many students and teachers now calling for TSP, more look set to follow.
What once seemed like an unnecessary overspend is quickly being identified by marketing directors as an essential tool to give their recruitment teams a way of overcoming the crucial health and safety objections. International students are a vital revenue stream for all universities. Most of these students have their courses paid for by their parents and many are now advising their children to consider other options. Being able to demonstrate that their health and safety is paramount is key to convincing them and winning this argument.
Many universities are now considering deploying TSP as they no longer see this as a spend, but as a crucial investment that will not only provide the highest level of protection for students, teachers and staff on site. It will also provide their marketing and recruitment teams with the advantage of being able to claim that they have gone over and above what the government health and safety rules require of them. Being able to make the claim that they have invested in the highest level of total surface protection on site, could be the difference between a student choosing to study with them or with a rival university.
Those that have TSP in place will have the edge over those that do not, with uncertainty set to prevail until a vaccine is produced. This advantage could mean the difference in not only winning the health battle against the virus but also the safety argument in securing new student recruits and future profits.
University Business and Corona Busters hosted a live panel discussion with Q&A on Wednesday 16th September.