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Silverstone UTC is a new, multi-million pound Centre of Excellence in Northampton, opened for young people studying at GCSE or college education level. Based at the Silverstone racing grounds, the establishment opened in September of 2013, specialising in High-Performance Engineering and Technical Events Management, with a hands-on, practical approach to learning.

Silverstone UTC aims to prepare work-ready young people, currently enrolling 350 students and hope to expand to over 550 students in the future.

Cashless Catering, Access Control & Card Management

CRB Cunninghams deployed Impact Cashless Catering, Paxton Access Control and Card Printing solutions at Silverstone UTC when the site opened in 2013. Harrison Catering, the college's catering provider, recommended installing a CRB Cunninghams cashless catering system after working with many sites already customers.

Silverstone noted that cashless catering sales are around 25% higher than cash-based sales, improving efficiency and producing a much larger turnover. In addition to this, Silverstone UTC has key partners who utilise CRB Cunninghams' solutions.

Neil Hopkins, Business Manager at Silverstone UTC, stated that the main reasons for choosing CRB Cunningham's solutions were "to remove the need for students to carry a lot of cash around the college, improve the speed of lunch service, providing safeguarding and security on site." Therefore, Impact Cashless Catering and Paxton Access Control were perfect for the Silverstone site.

Impact cashless catering has almost entirely eradicated the need for students to carry cash within the education environment. Around 80% of students use the cashless system, and only approximately 20% of students still use money. Silverstone UTC is hoping to transition into being 100% cashless eventually.

The college values the "no cash" initiative and noted that lunch service has become quick and efficient. The Impact cashless catering system operates via one database. With parental permission, the student account can link to biometrics or an ID card, allowing food and drink to be purchased.

The users' biometric input provides a quick and secure method for purchasing food. Students can use the card alongside the cashless catering system and Access Control. If students are unhappy with providing a fingerprint for biometrics, they can opt for the card-only solution.

One of the unique benefits of an Impact cashless system is that if students are eligible for free school meals, their account and purchasing processes are the same as students whose parents use the online payment function to credit their children's accounts. This anonymity eradicates the free school meal stigma that can sometimes lead to peer-to-peer issues.

As well as parents being able to fund students accounts online, they can view their child's account to check balances, set up spending limits and keep an eye on eating habits to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy balanced diet.

When speaking about the Cashless Catering system, Mr Hopkins stated,

"For me, it's the cashless catering that is the key solution. Access Control is a good thing and is necessary, but from a view that students can buy their food and drink either with their finger or with their card is the one thing that stands out for me. It is easy."

Improved School Security

With Silverstone UTC located within the Silverstone racing grounds, security on-site is imperative. The college opens its doors to the public on race days which could cause some safeguarding issues. CRB Cunninghams, a gold supplier of Paxton Access Control, fitted a turnstile-based access system that does not allow anybody without a registered ID card to enter the building.

Visitors are required to report to reception before entering and exiting the premises so that anybody who is not DBS checked cannot enter unaccompanied. During the day, the turnstiles are closed, which slows people down while entering the building and creates a steady flow where the students are moving through at a reasonable rate.

An Access Control point has also been fitted to the ground floor elevator. It is accessible before reaching the turnstiles in the college's front entrance, which means that access to the elevator is restricted, making the site completely secure. It also does not stop students from accessing the ground floor from the elevator from any other floor of the college.

Mr Hopkins commented that the necessity for ID cards "gives a much more business-like feel to the building because everybody has an Access Control card which is also their ID card. One of the driving forces behind the school is to create work-ready young people. Having an ID card linked to an automatic Access System and cashless catering solution is much more like being in a business than it is in a college."

Silverstone UTC has the facility to print their cards, which consists of taking photographs and biometrics from students at the beginning of the academic year and then using them to produce the cards, done quickly over a couple of days. If necessary, the college can order cards directly from CRB Cunninghams, printing the cards and sending them to the college.

The installation of the cashless catering system and the Access Control system was straightforward. The CRB Cunninghams account manager advised which products, software, and hardware were most suitable and necessary and where to cut costs, which has proved helpful when on an education budget.

The Result

"The training was very useful, and the support I have had is good. If we've had an issue, CRB Cunninghams have come out and dealt with it. I don't have to get involved with them really, which when you've got multiple suppliers in a busy college, the best suppliers are the ones that you don't have to get in too much trouble with."  - Mr Hopkins.

In the future, Silverstone UTC might consider taking on a CRB Cunninghams Electronic Registration system to automatically register students in the morning but are still assessing the plausibility.

Overall, the CRB Cunninghams solutions installed at Silverstone UTC have cemented the security and efficiency of the college whilst allowing students and staff to concentrate on the more essential aspects of day-to-day college life.

When speaking about CRB Cunninghams, Mr Hopkins said: "if another school were looking for the same things that we have looked for here, then I would have no hesitation in recommending CRB Cunninghams as a supplier of these products."