Two former students of Darlington College were the brains behind a new website designed to help the college process new enrolments during lockdown.
Michael Watts and Matt Reale, who now both work at leading digital marketing agency, Digital Allies, in Gateshead, were the lead designers of the online enrolment system which ensured students could safely and easily sign-up for courses when normal enrolment procedures were not allowed due to Covid-19.
Michael, 27, and Matt, 21, are both from Darlington. Michael joined Digital Allies in June this year; he has a First-Class Honours Degree in Computer Science from Teesside University and studied Computer Software and IT Partitioning at Darlington College.
Matt graduated from Darlington College in 2017 with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in System Support and Networking. He went straight into a Web Developer role at Digital Allies. Michael and Matt ensured that the new website allowed students to easily enrol online, while staff were able to access a dashboard where they could view students’ details to remotely process enrolments.
“We built a fluid system that could capture students and help them through the process of enrolment whilst dramatically reducing administration work for the college,” says Matt.
Matt had previously worked on the college’s main website development and says it was great to be working again with the organisation that essentially helped him launch his career. “It’s been an enjoyable experience as I’ve been able to provide the college where I was educated with a new system that will allow the next generation of learners to go through its doors.”
Ross Lowcock, Marketing and Engagement Manager at Darlington College, says: “It was vital for the college to react quickly to the challenges the pandemic and lockdown created for us and the team at Digital Allies provided us with the perfect solution. The enrolment platform received over one thousand applications, which not only reduced administration time for our staff but it also ensured we weren’t overwhelmed with prospective students gathering at the college at a time when social distancing and their safety was paramount.”
He continues: “It was serendipitous that two of our former students were instrumental in creating our enrolment website. They were a credit to the project and were always on hand to help ensure the enrolment process was functional. Everyone at the college is delighted that Matt and Michael have gone on to forge successful careers with a well-respected digital marketing agency.”