A new automated system for verifying degrees could save universities hundreds of hours of staff time per year, eliminate degree fraud and make the graduate employment process more secure.
Leading secure certificate solution provider, Advanced Secure Technologies and Hedd, UK higher education’s official degree verification service, have announced a strategic partnership to transform the way degrees are verified.
Currently, employers wishing to verify the degrees of their graduate candidates can make requests through Hedd, a centralised system for UK universities.
Universities typically receive hundreds of these requests every month. When requests are received they are processed manually, which can result in delays.
Now, Advanced Secure’s Digital Certificates platform has been combined with Hedd’s verification service, allowing degrees to be verified instantly in real-time.
The new, connected system automates and streamlines the process, eliminating the need for manual verification and saving hundreds of hours a year of university admin staff’s time.
This not only enhances the security and integrity of degrees, but also provides a faster response for graduates seeking employment as well as a better service for employers.
Cardiff University is one of a number of UK universities that have signed up to use the new system.
The University’s Registry team currently carries out system checks manually, which can take up to ten minutes each, depending on the complexity of the request.
They hope that using the new, automated system will save staff a significant amount of time and will give them the capacity to deal with more frontline student enquiries.
Kevin Bassett, Managing Director of Advanced Secure Technologies, said: “Our collaboration with Hedd marks a significant step in the modernisation of degree verification. Working together introduces an exceptional level of trust, transparency and speed in degree verification. Our technologies ensure every verification is secure, accurate and immediate. Protecting degree integrity and delivering an outstanding service for graduates seeking employment.”
Degree fraud can have a damaging effect on businesses, wasting their resources and damaging their reputations.
A survey* found that half of UK employers have been victims of degree fraud, yet many do not take steps to safeguard their business.
The survey, by Hedd’s sister company Prospects, found that 49% of large businesses and 48% of SMEs have encountered a candidate who lied about their degree qualifications, such as falsely claiming a degree or inflating their grade.
Chris Rea, Head of Commercial Services at Hedd, said: “Hedd’s partnership with Advanced Secure Technologies will streamline the verification process for our third-party enquirers, deliver great efficiencies for our university partners and help protect the investment students make in their employability. This development is a pivotal move in our ongoing efforts to prevent degree fraud and protect the reputation of UK higher education.”
While 83% of employers surveyed believed that some of their hires would have lied about their degrees, a fifth did not verify degree qualifications. Some reported that they spoke to tutors or used references instead, while others assumed integrity or valued interview performance over qualifications.
Georgina Lee, Company Director of Advanced Secure Technologies, emphasised the importance of having systems and processes that make it quick and easy to check degrees. “Doing so will encourage third parties, such as employers or checking agencies, to verify the authenticity of a candidate’s degree. The aim is to protect the reputation and resources of all stakeholders from the negative impact of degree fraud.”