Last month saw the launch of a new and refreshed Complete University Guide website. A project that has, at every step – actively sought and listened to feedback from students, parents and the sector – ensuring that the site continues to be effective in helping future Higher Education students to make well-informed decisions.
This approach builds upon the original mission and ethos that Bernard Kingston has pursued relentlessly for some 25 years - an independent guide and ranking to help students around the world research UK universities and their courses - today The Complete University Guide attracts over 18 million visits a year.
Bernard has decided that this marks the right time to step down as our Chairman. I hope that the launch of the new site goes some way to acting as a fitting tribute to his hard work and dedication to the provision of comprehensive and impartial information to university applicants.
In doing so, Bernard has placed great trust in both myself and IDP Connect and I will ensure that we repay this trust by continuing to invest in and improve the Complete University Guide. However, even more importantly we will ensure that it remains independent – championing the student cause everywhere. We have in place a strong Advisory Board chaired by Amanda Chetwynd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Provost for the Student Experience at Lancaster University for 14 years, to ensure that The Complete University Guide continues to go from strength to strength.
All of us at IDP Connect want to place on record our warmest thanks to Bernard and to wish him and his wife, Jackie, a long and happy retirement. I hope that when the current situation lifts, we will be able to come together as a team to celebrate Bernard’s many achievements.
In the time that we have worked together Bernard has become a close friend, a ready mentor and someone for whom I have the highest regard. Whilst I will miss working with him, I know that we will continue to stay very much in touch.
He is rightly respected within the HE sector as a leading IAG expert and for what he has achieved with The Complete University Guide.
And, as it should be, we leave the last words to Bernard himself.
Simon Emmett, CEO IDP Connect
Some 25 years ago I had the temerity to write to The Times to suggest that three of us at Sheffield might produce its UK university rankings through our partnership, Mayfield University Consultants. That collaboration lasted for more than 10 years at a time when the World Wide Web was in its infancy and the focus was on publication in book form or newspapers. But by 2007 we were convinced that the web was the way forward and joined forces with the leading digital publisher, Constable & Robinson, to launch The Complete University Guide as www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. In 2015, the Guide was acquired by the Hotcourses Group with a proviso that guaranteed editorial independence. Finally, in 2019 Hotcourses itself was merged into Melbourne-based IDP Education and rebranded IDP Connect with the Guide as an independent arm.
Back in 1995, I never imagined that the Guide would be recognised as the foremost independent and trusted source for university applicants, free to access in a form with which the current generation is firmly familiar and not associated with any newspaper. The guiding mantra throughout has been “Putting Students First”, so crucial to our success.
It has been a wonderful student-centred project in “retirement” and an enormous privilege to have worked alongside such talented colleagues. A pleasure, too, for the many personal and professional friend-ships and even some foe-ships in the universities who have made their inputs to the development of the Guide. But now as I approach four score years, I have decided to step down as Chairman with effect from 30 April in the certain knowledge that the Guide is in the safe hands of my good friend, Simon Emmett (CEO, IDP Connect) and the Guide’s dedicated staff, some of whom are a third of my age.
We live in difficult and uncertain times but I wish you all good health and every success for the future.