Student Management Application

About the client

The NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) provides professional, technical and administrative services to NHS Wales; supporting the staff and patients of NHS organisations across Wales. They also provide a range of services to GP practices, dentists, opticians, and community pharmacies.

Industry Healthcare, Education Location UK Engagement period Sept 2022 - Ongoing Technologies .Net Core, SQL server, Docker, AWS

Business challenge

Inefficiencies in NWSSP’s student financial and placement services

The NWSSP oversees the Student Award Services (SAS) program. This initiative provides financial assistance to healthcare students across Wales and Welsh-domiciled medical and dental students throughout the UK.

Additionally, NWSSP manages the Student Streamlining Program (SSP), which matches healthcare students with appropriate positions within NHS Wales Health Boards and Trusts.

NWSSP was relying on a legacy application for managing the SAS and SSP programs which posed several critical problems:

  • Bursary calculations, dependent on detailed student data, lacked automation, necessitating frequent manual adjustments by NWSSP staff.
  • The legacy system did not support document uploads, compelling students to send sensitive documents through external channels.
  • The absence of automated updates left students uninformed about their application statuses, causing around 12,000 annual calls to the SAS team.
  • The SSP’s legacy system required manual intervention to match student health professionals to the right positions, affecting the overall placement process.
  • The absence of automated processes resulted in a substantial workload for the NWSSP team processing approximately 3,400 student applications annually.

These challenges highlighted the need for a solution to automate complex processes, reducing manual workload and improving operational efficiency. GoodCore was tasked to develop the solution.

The solution

Project goals

NWSSP's management of student applications

GoodCore was tasked to create a web application for students to apply to the SAS and SSP programs and for university’s and NWSSP's management of student applications. The project entailed the following requirements:

  • Implement features for secure document uploading, real-time application tracking and direct communication with NWSSP within the application.
  • Develop an automated calculator within the application to accurately determine bursary amounts based on various parameters.
  • Program an algorithm to match graduated medical students with residency positions within NHS Wales, based on their skills and preferred job locations.

Platform components

The platform named NHSStudents comprises three web-based dashboards for different roles using the platform:

Student dashboard

Apply for SAS and SSP programs, estimate bursary amounts based on their data, securely upload documents, track application status in real-time, respond to NWSSP queries, and opt out of the bursary program.

NWSSP dashboard

Offers a detailed overview of all student applications, comprehensive details for each application, send queries to students, approve applications and forward them to universities or recruiting managers, and manage user roles and permissions within the system.

Recruitment manager dashboard

Access detailed applicant profiles, including their placement history, add interview notes, provide feedback, and rank students based on their suitability for positions.

Recruitment manager dashboard

Product development challenges and solutions

Challenge #1: Complex algorithm design for bursary and residency matching

A significant challenge in this project was the implementation of custom proprietary algorithms for bursary calculation and residency matching. The complexity was exacerbated by the student application form, which contained over 200 fields, with bursary amounts potentially influenced by any of these parameters. 

Similarly, the residency matching algorithm had to consider numerous variables, such as student placement history, experience, and the availability of positions in each field, making the development of an automated solution highly complex.

Solution: Rigorous algorithm configuration and user testing

To address this challenge, we configured the extensive scenarios and rules provided by NWSSP into the system's algorithms. The process involved reverse-engineering an Excel sheet that contained all the scenarios to create a functional algorithm prototype. This prototype was shared with users at the beginning of the project for extensive usability testing across various scenarios. This way, we ensured the algorithm accurately calculated bursaries and effectively matched residency placements before full-scale implementation.

Rigorous algorithm configuration and user testing

Challenge #2: Data migration and privacy compliance

Migrating all existing student data from the legacy system to the newly developed application presented a significant challenge, particularly in maintaining data privacy. As a government entity, NWSSP was bound by stringent privacy and security regulations, including GDPR, which demanded secure handling and protection of personal data.

Solution: Secure data migration and compliance with GDPR

To enable an additional level of security, all legacy applications’ data were physically delivered by our client to our UK office, which we seamlessly transitioned to the new application. 

To comply with GDPR requirements, the application was designed to retain student documentation and information for seven years. Additionally, encryption measures, including AES-256 encryption for data at rest and TLS for data in transit, were implemented to secure the product and comply with all relevant regulations.

Secure data migration and compliance with GDPR

Challenge #3: Managing multiple user roles

One of the crucial aspects we had to address was the complexity of multiple user roles on the platform. Given that the platform serves students, NWSSP users, and recruitment managers, each with distinct objectives, it was essential to design an interface that only displayed the relevant functionalities to each user.

Solution: Implementation of a RBAC system

To effectively manage the diverse needs of different user groups, we implemented a role-based access control system. This approach allowed us to give access only to the functionalities and data pertinent to their roles. Each entity was provided with its own bifurcated features, tailored to meet specific roles and responsibilities, ensuring a streamlined and efficient user experience.

Implementation of a RBAC system

Challenge #4: Ambitious scope with a fixed deadline

NWSSP had a fixed go-live date for the NHSStudents application that was non-negotiable. And the project’s scope was ambitious. Officially starting in October 2022, the project was required to be fully operational by March 2023, leaving a tight window for development and deployment.

Solution: Phased delivery and Agile implementation

To meet the tight deadline, the application was rolled out in phases—first, the SAS management system, followed by the SSP management system. The team initiated the project with extensive discovery sessions to thoroughly understand client needs and conducted in-depth research to ensure a solid foundation. 

Armed with discovery deliverables, the development phase commenced using the Agile Scrum methodology, allowing for flexible, iterative progress and regular adjustments based on stakeholder feedback. This approach not only ensured adherence to the project timeline but also facilitated a focused delivery that aligned closely with user requirements and expectations.

Ambitious scope with a fixed deadline

I was most impressed by GoodCore Software’s excellent communication. They were very accessible, and we had a better experience than with other companies we had worked with in the past.

Ellis Hughes

Ellis Hughes, Director



The impact

  • Since its launch, NHSStudents has successfully processed approximately 4,000 applications from students for various courses, demonstrating high user engagement and system reliability.
  • The application currently supports 76 bursary-eligible courses and is utilised by 40 universities across the UK.
  • The introduction of automated bursary calculations and residency matching has significantly reduced the manual workload for NWSSP staff, boosting focus on strategic tasks and productivity.
  • The system's secure document upload and direct communication channel have minimised manual/offline communications, reducing phone inquiries and streamlining query resolution.
  • Robust encryption and GDPR compliance have strengthened NWSSP's data management processes, ensuring the protection of sensitive student information.

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