Askham Bryan College


Russell Telecom’s solution ticks all the right boxes


Askham Bryan College is proud to be the fastest growing land based college in the country, thanks to its superb range of courses and first-rate teaching and facilities.

Their centres of learning are located throughout Yorkshire and the North East. In August 2011, they extended their reach to cover the former Newton Rigg Agricultural College, which was acquired from the University of Cumbria. The college currently has 4,500 students enrolled on further and higher education courses, which range from entry-level starter courses and work based learning apprenticeships to foundation and BSc honours degrees.

When it came to upgrading its telecoms system, Askham Bryan College was delighted to choose Russell Telecom, a company with over 25 years experience of meeting the telecommunications needs of UK businesses and organisations, as its preferred supplier.

“The extra elements the system provides in terms of voicemail and caller recognition have been a huge asset.”
John Mawson, Director of Physical Resources at Askham Bryan College


Askham Bryan College required a solution that could improve communications within the college, making cross-departmental communications more efficient and allowing individual teachers the functionality to be left messages digitally, even if they do not have access to a dedicated handset.


Russell Telecom undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the college’s telecommunications system before deciding that the new NEC SV8100 solution would suit the college’s requirements perfectly.

The SV8100 is a superb communication solution for up to 512 extensions. Its expandability means it can work at any level, from a technically advanced phone system to a unified communications platform. Business and organisational performance is improved significantly by making the workforce more reachable wherever they are based.

The college was supplied with 250 handsets with integrated voicemail and auto attendant functionality. In addition, virtual extension numbers were set up for the use of staff members who did not have access to a dedicated handset on the college’s telephone system. The virtual extension functionality is something that the college is currently in the process of implementing across its departments.

Virtual extension numbers give callers the ability to leave messages in individual staff voicemail boxes. Staff can personalise their ‘inboxes’ with their own greeting messages. Staff members are automatically alerted that they have been left a message as the system sends an email to the individual teacher who can then retrieve the message from any phone on the college network.


NEC-phone-variationsAskham Bryan College is very pleased with its new telecoms system. John Mawson, the college’s Director of Physical Resources commented: “Since the installation of the new NEC system it has considerably improved our college communications. The extra elements it provides in terms of voicemail and caller recognition have been a huge asset.

“Moving forward, the solution will also be linked to our email system which will again be a great improvement. Overall we are very happy with the system and the service we received.”

Key additional benefits of the new system include:

  • Converged communications – data, multimedia and voice – over one network.
  • Intuitive features that the staff can use from day one.
  • Handsets and applications include shortcuts that speed up working processes.
  • Ability for staff / external callers to reach the right resources with one call.
  • Time-saving applications such as the organisation’s directory, call history and speed dials, empower staff to become more productive.
  • The auto attendant facility is especially useful for the college because callers can be directed quickly and effectively to the information they need and greeting messages can be changed to suit requirements.