Levelling Up: Access Courses and what they can offer

Levelling Up: Access Courses and what they can offer

If you’ve ever wondered about getting back into education, it’s a good idea to look into what Access Courses can offer.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas were created as an alternative to A Levels and they are open to anyone in the UK over the age of 19.

Whether you are looking to change careers, or simply want to enhance your knowledge and skills in a certain field, access courses open doors to university and further employment opportunities.

Access diplomas have a long and well-established history that dates back to the 1970s and 1980s. Now, each year, over 20,000 Access students achieve their diploma and progress onto their chosen university course.

Since 1989 there has been a National Framework for Access to HE courses because it was recognised that there was a need to create secure alternative routes to university for non-traditional students. The delivery and time-structure of Access courses are more flexible than traditional modes of study, allowing learners to progress at their own pace. After all, we all have busy lives. When you are juggling the demands of work and taking care of a family or other commitments, you need a way to study that works with you, not against you.

Students do not have to have any prior qualifications to start studying an access course. Once you have successfully completed your diploma, it is held in the same regard as A Levels as it is a full level 3 qualification –meaning you can apply for a university course.

Each diploma is a tailored learning pathway that provides students with the necessary skills and subject knowledge required for a particular professional field. For example, a diploma in Healthcare Professions prepares students to progress onto undergraduate courses in adult or child nursing, midwifery, paramedic science, occupational therapy and many other healthcare subjects.

As it is a very independent way of studying, students find that they then feel more confident and prepared for the demands of university as they have developed effective study skills along the way.

If you’re not thinking about university, an access diploma is also designed to enhance career prospects by opening up more opportunities in the workplace. For example, a diploma in Science and Engineering can meet entry requirements for various technician level careers.

Access Courses are widely accepted by Higher Education providers but it is important to check that the university you wish to attend will accept your Access Diploma for the particular course you wish to study, as entry requirements can differ across educational establishments.