Coleg y Cymoedd are first in Wales to revolutionise learner experience with SMART AI Assistance

Coleg y Cymoedd are the first Further Education college in Wales to use a SMART AI Recruitment Assistant.

Launched in November 2023, the AI Assistant sits on the college website and uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to empower potential learners and parents by providing them with comprehensive information about course options and campus details.

With the rise of AI and demand to access information at the click of a button, whatever time of day, Coleg y Cymoedd were looking to introduce an AI recruitment assistant to seamlessly integrate into the college’s website to enhance user experience.

AI developers ICS.AI were the obvious choice in partner for their success as the creators of the first Human Parity Performance AI, increasing user satisfaction of institutions such as Durham University, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and Southampton City Council, beyond that of their existing call centres or help desks.

ICS.AI’s AI Assistants have been helping universities increase learner engagement and facilitate remote learning by providing an interactive and engaging AI-driven platform for both learners and staff for over five years.

Instead of the traditional ‘chatbot’, where basic answers are given to a select number of generic questions, the AI Assistant Learner Recruitment platform houses a pre-built further education organisational language model containing over 400 relevant topics and questions. It is designed to offer an immersive, conversational user experience.

This involves capturing enquiries from prospective learners, registering attendees on virtual open days, and connecting learners to up-to-date resources in real-time.

Whatever a user’s query, AI Assistants intelligently route users to the best solution. The function is accessible 24/7, in multiple languages and with over 90% accuracy. What’s most impressive, is that the AI Assistant will continue to improve and gain knowledge as they interact with other AI Assistants in the education sector.

Also, to comply with the Welsh Language Act, it was vital to Coleg y Cymoedd that language recognition and translation was curated in both English and Welsh. The ICS.AI SMART: AI platform supports over 100 languages to enable recognition and translation through curated knowledgebases.

Rory Meredith, Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at the college commented, “The purpose of the assistant is to improve the learner recruitment journey for Cymoedd. We selected ICS.AI based on their trusted experience in the education sector and the innovation offered through a conversational AI experience, leveraging their SMART: AI platform and pre-built further education organisational language model”.

Following an internal competition run amongst staff and learners, Coleg y Cymoedd decided to name its AI assistant A.R.N.Y. The most popular entry and suggested by more than one person, the handle is an acronym for the college’s four Valley’s based campuses: Aberdare, Rhondda, Nantgarw, Ystrad Mynach.

Since A.R.N.Y.’s debut late last year, the college’s website has been able to resolve over 90% of its users’ queries, and, for the first time, with a staggering 40% of questions answered outside of college opening hours. The accessibility of the AI Assistant means the college can connect with potential learners more and get an answer quicker than ever before.

ICS.AI spoke of the partnership, “As the educational landscape rapidly evolves with the advent of generative AI, institutions face a crucial decision; when and how to integrate AI into their teaching and learning processes. Coleg y Cymoedd have been the perfect partner and have a deep willing for collaboration and innovation.”

“As part of Coleg y Cymoedd’s wider AI transformation, we’re also working together on a pilot evaluation project utilising generative AI to enhance the teaching and learning experience, which has successfully been granted funding via the Welsh Government.”

You can chat with A.R.N.Y. for yourself, here: www.cymoedd.ac.uk

You can find out more about ICS.AI’s pilot evaluation project, here

You can also download a webinar given by Rory Meredith, Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Coleg y Cymoedd which gives an insight into the college’s evaluation process, here 

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Aberdare

Wellington Street
Aberdare
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF44 8EN

Nantgarw

Heol y Coleg
Parc Nantgarw
Cardiff
CF15 7QY

Rhondda

Llwynypia
Tonypandy
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF40 2TQ

Ystrad Mynach

Twyn Road
Ystrad Mynach
Hengoed
CF82 7XR

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