Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES)
Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) is a college that offers full-time and part-time study in the daytime, evenings and weekends to adults in Westminster. It is the borough’s only specialist adult education provider, educating over 12,000 students in 80 venues.
As with most educational establishments, Westminster Adult Education Service is heavily vested in Microsoft Office software due to the generous discounts that Microsoft offers to academia. With Office 2007 now a few generations out-of-date, however, the college was keen to take advantage of the new functionality, reliability and support available for the latest version of Office (which at the time was Office 2013).
Access to features was not the only reason why the college was keen to upgrade. With most of its adult students coming into contact with Office software in their places of work, it can be difficult – particularly for less experienced computer users – to transition between different versions of the software, especially if the software they are learning on at college is a version or two behind their employer’s. Working with the latest version of Office was also particularly important for maintaining the quality of the IT courses that the college provides.
Additionally, with such a broad range of students from different social and economic backgrounds, the college could not expect all of its students to invest the £100+ in their own copies of Office software to use at home, which prevented the college from being able fully to utilise Microsoft Office across all its courses.
At the same time that the outdated Office software was limiting the college’s ability to meet its students’ needs, the college’s onsite Exchange email server was also proving inadequate for its users. With only a fixed amount of onsite storage serving a growing number of users, the college had to restrict each user’s mailbox to just 200MB. This was far too inadequate to meet their needs, requiring users routinely to clear their inbox just to maintain a minimum level of functionality. The college was keen to look at a solution that would bring both its Office software and email services up to date.