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What is Access to Higher Education?

25th May 20

Are you looking to get back into university but don’t have the qualifications?

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a career that no longer excites you. This is a common occurrence for a vast majority.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, only 45% of people in the UK like their current jobs. With many of us left unsatisfied with our professional lives.

Or maybe you’ve been busy raising a family, so you’ve had to put your interests on the back burner. Parenting is no easy feat and it's understandable that you’ve not had the time to focus on yourself.

But if your children are now all grown up and you’re feeling at a loose end now is the time to reinvest in you.

Whatever the reason may be, getting back into education is a sure-fire way to make a big difference to your life.

But, what are the options if you’ve been out of education for a long time?

An Access to Higher Education Diploma is a way for mature students to learn new skills and achieve their professional or personal ambitions.

These 'Access' courses are designed for anyone that lacks the qualifications they need to study their chosen course at degree level. As they are an equivalent qualification to A Levels, Access courses give you an alternate route into university.

The Access to HE Diplomas are available in a range of subjects that are specifically aimed at getting you access to higher education.

This is ideal if you would like to get into professions such as:

  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Social Care
  • Education
  • Engineering and much more

So, how does it work?

Below are the aspects of these Access to HE Diplomas to better understand how study can benefit you.

Learndirect | What is Access to Higher Education | How Long Does an Access to HE Diploma Take?

How long does an Access to HE Diploma take to complete?

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are offered at traditional colleges. So, for those of you with more time, you will complete your studies within a standard academic calendar. Whether you are studying full-time or part-time these Access courses are usually 1 to 2 years in length.

For many of us, however, attending a college even as a part-time student is not possible.

Perhaps your work is shift-based. In this case, you can't always guarantee the same time off every week to commit to an evening Access course class. At least not without a lot of chopping and changing.

And the thought of trying to alter a pre-established schedule can be a daunting task. So, you would be forgiven for feeling a little reluctant to get back into education.

There are other options if you, like many others, have commitments you can’t give up.

Be it minding young children or running a business, whatever keeps you occupied, online learning can work around you.

Allowing you the flexibility to study whilst still keeping your schedule intact.

Therefore, you are able to study your Access course when you like for however long you like. If circumstances change, as they often do, online study gives you the leeway to adjust accordingly.

Online Access courses are more varied in length as it is dependent on what works for you. People often take between 9-12 months to finish, but you have a maximum of 2 years to complete your Access course studies.

Learndirect | What is Access to Higher Education | What are the Requirements

What are the requirements?

People often wonder whether they’re too old to study. Don’t let age put you off as that is simply not true.

There are no age restrictions when it comes to studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma. Allowing you the freedom to pick up your education at any point in your life.

If you are still self-conscious about the idea of going back to college consider online study of Access courses instead.

Studying your Access course online gives you the same qualifications as a traditional institution but from the comfort of your own home.

Another query people tend to ask when considering Access to HE courses is if you need lots of GCSEs to be accepted. Though you will not need them for your Access to HE Diploma, certain university-level courses will require them.

If, for example, you're looking to study nursing at university you would require Maths and English GCSEs at Grade 4/C.

However, it is not the be all and end all if you don’t have these qualifications.

Institutions usually offer Functional Skills Level 2 as an equivalent which you can take alongside the Access to HE Diploma.

What do you do in an Access to HE Diploma?

These university Access courses are specifically tailored with the goal of getting you to university. Therefore, all information taught on the uni Access course is regularly updated and highly relevant to that field of study.

Universities work with course providers to guarantee the uni Access course material reflects the content of the associated degrees.

For example, in our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery) course we have modules in:

  • The history of the NHS
  • Intrapartum, antenatal and postpartum care
  • Human disease & prevention

These Access to midwifery course modules will provide you with a detailed understanding of many aspects that make up the role of a Midwife. A Levels will not reach this kind of depth in one area unlike the way Access to Higher Education Diplomas are able to.

Therefore, Access courses are beneficial for those with a gauge of exactly where they want their careers to go. Allowing you to hone your skills specifically for your chosen area of study.

Upon completion of your Access to HE Diploma, you will receive what is equivalent to a Level 3 certificate. This indicates that you will have been working at an A Level standard and, therefore, giving you the required level of qualification to apply for university.

Although most universities accept Access to HE Diplomas, some do not so it is best to be certain before committing to an Access course.

The best way to make sure is by double-checking with your desired institution on their course requirements before you enrol.


How do I enrol?

Now you understand what an Access to Higher Education Diploma is and what it can do for you, it’s time for the next step.

Identify the right Access to HE Diploma for you based on what you want to study. If you’re unsure we can advise you on what the best route for you would be.

It may not always be clear which Access courses are relevant to specific areas of study so either check with the university or your course provider.

If you’re ready to start your journey to a different career get in touch today.

At learndirect we have a range of online Access courses to choose from and flexible payment options to help spread the cost.

Check out our Access to HE Diplomas or contact a member of our sales team today to learn more and enrol.

Learndirect | What is Access to Higher Education | Enrol Today

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