June 30, 2021

This month we hear from Sangita Marahatta, Founder and Director at Forward Academic Team Ltd. to share her success and experience working as a course provider for NEBDN and talk about how she built her business up from one centre to eight, sitting approximately 150 students a year.

Sangita founded Forward Academic in 2016 and has kindly written this article for NEBDN, to share her recruitment and marketing tips with other industry professionals. Read below:

Forward Academic started to deliver the Diploma in Dental Nursing in January 2016, with a vision to produce dedicated and high-quality Dental Nurses to fulfil the high demand of the profession. Forward Academic has a minimum of five-six cohorts in the year. We do this to give our learners a chance to enroll on the course without having to wait for too long.

We started with a head office in the southeast of London and since 2017, expanded to eight other centres in Woolwich, Harrow, Maidstone, Folkestone, Swindon, Farnborough, and Basingstoke. We believe in diversity, and we are proud to serve multinational learners in our institution.

We were in the process to register for more centres before the UK was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Establishing more centres while still new to the market was a challenge. But we took different approaches to recruiting, including advertisements, small informative seminars in different locations with different communities, local radio interviews, local newspaper, and job sites. Word of mouth recommendation was also a strong factor. NEBDN has been extremely supportive throughout our accreditation and audit reviews.

The procedure to open more centres was not difficult for us and despite NEBDN’s high-quality aspirations set out in their Accreditation Standards, we received very prompt and supportive guidelines from NEBDN and our Quality Assurance manager, which made the completion and addition of the further centres a smooth process.

As well as the above, regular posting on our website and social media accounts have been one of the best tools. Forward Academic provides free video consultations and has done since the country went into lockdown, so our prospective learners get some interaction during this difficult time. We do not only give the overview of the course, but we help them with career aspirations and guide them throughout. We communicate with dental practices regularly to mutually work for the benefit of our trainees and that NEBDN’s mission is fulfilled with a high-quality learning and training environment. In our experience, people have been greatly attracted to dental nursing in recent years. Even some established professionals from other industries have changed their career choice to becoming a Dental Nurse. With the hospitality and many other industries hard hit with job loss due to COVID-19, we have recruited those to dental nurse training, and they have been able to happily work in the dental practices.

The beginning of 2020 was the most challenging time with the dilemma about what we would do when the whole country was badly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. But with the support of NEBDN announcing all its exam online, we rose from that difficulty to offer our classes online. We had to ensure our software was accessible to all the learners and sustainable on our platform, which was very challenging, but we have been very lucky and have continued to recruit the learners who are interested to participate in lessons online and deliver all our classes through real online systems. We are very happy with the way students have coped with the new system despite this difficult time.

NEBDN’s announcement of online exams was a great tool to ease off the stress and panic of the learners. They were really worried for their safety and wellbeing during this time, but with the news of online exams, our candidates felt very supported and capable of doing their exams in a secure environment at home or in practice. New learners prefer this style now.

We chose NEBDN over competitors because NEBDN’s course format is really straightforward, and the learners can qualify in a short duration achieving all the necessary learning outcomes. The written exams and OSCEs are of high standard and NEBDN’s website is full of resources for course providers, tutors, learners and the dental practices. Sample exams, guidance documents and videos are easily accessible to all. The webinars and seminars run by NEBDN on a regular basis are useful, as it gives us an opportunity to interact with staff and other course providers.

Even during the lockdown, we have received prompt help and assistance via email from NEBDN which is invaluable to us. Forward Academic aims to continue working with NEBDN offering the National Diploma and Dental Radiography.

We aim to expand our Post-Registration qualification courses in the future.

Sangita Marahatta-Sharma

Founder and Director

Written by
Jade Monori