Good people, change management, salary, proactive CEO. Lots of change is happening at GSM and I'm pleased to be part of it and have an input into it.
I have been in the role less than one year but so far no major concerns.
Advice to Management
Starting with the basics is great. Change is taking place and this is positive and well thought out.
I worked at GSM London full-time (More than 5 years)
Some good support & staff and lecturers. Most of the decent staff have either left or in the process of leaving. It’s been a downhill spiral since the new leader arrived who has very little respect for anyone below them.
Senior managers and directors are paid a very high salary, if you can get a senior role, you will be super rich, they also give you shares in the company if the person who sits at the top likes you.
There are no other benefits, they offer 1% pension and reimburse travel between the 3 ghastly campuses
You are guaranteed to see fights/regular conflict between students and staff, students & students and amongst staff members, this can be amusing, it could easily be Greenwich Zoo Not College! I am certain that the College would make lots of extra cash if they started selling day tickets for day entry, there’s lots of fascinating things to see, mainly dirt and grime.
GSM London has always had a chequered past, in the early days students could pay for higher grades and degree certificates, now the focus is on the student loans company and how much money they can siphon out from it. Money really talks in this organisation it is the whole driving force of this so called education provider.
The new leader is abhorrent, specialising in pubs & bowling alleys, this individual is a discredit to the entire organisation, and they have no respect for less senior members with zero experience of working within any sector of education.
You have to work a compulsory 40 hour week regardless of salary or position, this is minimum, generally you will be expected to work 40 – 50 hours per week on a standard contract & salary. This is mainly due to the company disorganisation.
HR exist only to look out for the person who sits and the top, they are unable to do anything without there say so. Anything you share with HR goes straight to this person so there is no employee confidentiality.
False student attendance monitoring, none of the IT systems work and the data is made up by the finance team for statutory reporting purposes
Campuses are very unclean and smell fowl the locations are also very poor, I would never study here as a student.
Advice to Management
Recruit an empathetic, respectful, considerate, understanding and sympathetic leader who can inspire & lead the college to University status, the current executive is only interested in giving out insults, back biting and is very power hungry which is probably okay in the nightclubs/entertainment industry but it does not work in Education. A bully can never be a leader or inspire anyone.
I would suggest to open a student union bar on campus? The students and staff would have somewhere to get away from it all, this shouldn’t be too difficult particularly as the new leader specialises in the in this field finally, some expertise put to use!
Start giving staff some benefits/flex and treat them with respect and transparency
Raise entry requirements for students and attract some quality candidates, stop pretending that you are widening participation, let’s be real, you are cheating students and pilfering public money from the SLC.
I worked at GSM London full-time (Less than a year)
1. A minority of very talented individuals (have been employed by sheer dumb luck)
2. Senior management/Exec are highly paid, well above the average salary bands, if you’re a director you will be rolling in the cash, regardless of ability or experience
3. Riots and fights often break out among students on Campus, this can be entertaining and helps to pass the time, police are often called onsite this only adds to the drama
4. That is it! Seriously there are no other benefits…
1. Students are cheated out of money, time and education, teaching is poor, facilities are poor, student pass rate is very very poor. There has been a major under investment in basic student facilities; this company is still stuck in the 1980’s, yet they charge in-line with top end Universities. I am amazed!!
2. Entry requirements seem to be non-existent, the policy seems to be to recruit students regardless of qualification or ability, I witnessed a student applying for an undergraduate course, this student was barely able to read or write in English yet he was asked to complete a form and was accepted onto the course (later withdrawn). Of course GSM's entire income is from SLC funding so the calibre of the student was not a issue.
3. Last summer when the air conditioning broke down (for weeks) the Provost emailed all staff/students advising them to buy a mini fan and keep it at their desk to keep cool, all staff were also explicitly advised to wear ”loose and light clothing” Instead of paying to get the issue fixed, Loose clothing? is this even allowed?! surely the answer is to install air conditioning or get it fixed? Instead the electricity company were held responsible, yet the incumbent had bought herself a £500 Dyson blade-less tower fan paid for by the students or SLC rather!! Amazing!
4. The Company seriously lacks leadership, there appears to be a constant power struggle internally particularly within the Executive team; all want control, all have little or no experience in HE, in fact the current lacking leader has been running pubs and bowling alleys for the last x years, i'm sure this will be highly relevant as both industries are the same....NOT!
5. GSM London currently has no business strategy or vision, their sole objective is to make money by mass recruiting students – as opposed to producing advocates.
6. All employees have to work a compulsory 40 hour week, regardless of salary band. Most often you are working extra hours due to lack of appropriate resourcing.
7. Student experience is not valued by this institution; their philosophy is simply to take money from students or rather the Student loans company.
8. Admin & support staff are at the bottom of the chain, undervalued, underpaid, overworked & often treated with lack of respect or consideration (worse than animals).
9. HR is poor, they solely exist to look after the executive board and the company’s interests as opposed to the well-being of employees. Staff retention rate is a real issue. There is no staff training.
10. No flex or benefits for staff. Extra hours demanded with no remuneration to staff.
11. There are some very unsavory characters at GSM London, so be careful if you plan to study or work here. This includes students and staff. Very high probability of seeing a fight break out on campus, luckily the police station is across the road and they are often called - can be very comedic at times although very disturbing on the whole.
12. There is no access for disabled students to floors above ground level, (at the main campus) the current lift does not conform to regulatory standards, this is illegal. Spend the money & sort it out. Why discriminate against disabled individuals?
Advice to Management
1. Please carefully read all the points above, this review is intended as constructive criticism to help you improve the business; stop brushing this key issues under the carpet, do something!!
2. Look after your staff, value your students! Why not treat them with respect and common courtesy? This is free and won’t cost anything!
3. Stop cheating students, it will lead to the downfall of the company, no individual or institution will continually get away with mistreating and cheating other people. This is wrong and immoral!
4. Increase entry qualifications for students, of course you will lose the income from forever repeating students but this is unethical anyway! Otherwise no potential buyer is going to come near the place.
5. Stop employing highly paid directors and contractors, instead invest money in student services, better facilities for students, support staff & technology, these are key! Your students are your assets it should all be about the student experience not filling your own pockets or company shares!!!
6. Improve the security in your study centers and campuses, staff & students often feel threatened and generally not safe, there is also a high degree of theft – raising entry requirements would probably fix this as well
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