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City of Bristol College

“The whole team from VMC have gone above and beyond to get the system up and running and have responded amazingly quickly to fast changing times caused by a global pandemic.” Chris Gwynne, Facilities Manager

Planning for changing times

City of Bristol College is a large college providing further, higher and apprentice courses to the Bristol City region. It is home to more than 11,000 students and 800 staff studying at multiple locations across the city. The college had been planning to upgrade their payment system for some time, but the arrival of COVID-19 made this even more important.

The challenge

Their previous system, installed as part of their catering contract, wasn’t flexible enough to meet their needs and the college wanted to find their own provider. Having seen the VMC system 5 years ago and been impressed with it, we were their first port of call for a new system.

In response to the global pandemic the college made the decision to stop using cash as much as possible, and this added a new level of urgency to the project. They needed very quick implementation at a reasonable cost. Integration with their current till and vending hardware and backend systems was key, as was the flexibility to support their changing needs in the future.

The VMC solution

The new Flex ‘cloud hosted’ system was installed across a number of their sites and included till software, on site server software, order monitors, Vendotek card readers on vending machines and a Mobile App for students.

Initial discussions started in July 2020 and the installation was completed in September, enabling them to quickly adapt to the changing situation. Feedback so far from those that have used the system is really positive and the college now feels ready for the full return of students, hopefully in the near future.

Plans are already in place to offer other new services to students once lockdown ends, with click and collect branded coffee outlets, and an online ordering service capable of managing multiple sites, time slots and collection locations. Both being managed through the new Flex system.

Benefits of the new system 

  • Less cash being exchanged, reducing spread of the virus
  • Enabled them to implement a click and collect system
  • Free school meal vouchers delivered directly to student cards
  • Manages subsidies for short term apprentices
  • Incorporates vending machines into the system
  • Supports online ordering
  • Mobile app for students
  • Easy to use and manage

“Excellent from inception of the system, to the paperwork provided to get the system set up, to the engineers attending site and the support received on going. The organisation is very well run, professional and has outstanding customer service.”

Chris Gwynne, Facilities Manager


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Building Image provided by City of Bristol College.



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