Access Study Opportunities for a New Career

07 April 2017 | Access to HE & GCSEs

A £40million pilot scheme to test new approaches to lifelong learning, announced in the recent Budget, will allow the further education sector to create more opportunities for adults wanting to retrain. One of the most successful routes into a new career, particularly for someone who has not been in education for a while, is an Access to Higher Education course.

City College Plymouth runs nearly 40 full and part-time Access courses, covering a range of subjects from journalism and media to science and engineering. The courses are a great first step for those with specific career goals in mind and are designed to be practical and relevant. Access courses offer progression onto Foundation and Honours Degrees, and an Advanced Learner Loan can be used to cover tuition fees – loans are not means tested and don’t have to be paid back if a degree course is completed.

Erica Safari-Omoigui, 40, used an Advanced Learner Loan to study Access to Nursing when she wanted a career change. Originally from Nigeria, Erica was working as a healthcare assistant and looking after her young family when she applied to City College. At first she was interested in an NVQ but after coming to an open day and speaking to staff, she realised that the Access course was the best route as it would allow her to continue her studies at university.

“At school, they just teach you to pass exams, but the Access course taught me how to do proper research, write essays and learn beyond the subject,” said Erica. “It made me want to know more about the human mind and to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. The course really prepared me for university.”
Erica is now in her second year at Plymouth University, where she is studying for a Degree in Mental Health Nursing. When she completes her degree next year, she won’t have to pay back her loan for the Access course.

“I can honestly say that the College was a very good experience. Even if I hadn’t gone on to university, I’d recommend it as I took so much from the course. I don’t think people realise the kind of support you get – College staff guide you through your course and assignments, help with your UCAS application and support you in every way.”

To find out more about Access to Higher Education courses and all other full and part-time courses, including Apprenticeships, the College is holding an Open Day and Spring Fete on Saturday 29 April, 10.00am to 1.00pm, at Kings Road.

Visitors will be able to talk to lecturers, tour the industry-standard facilities and receive free impartial careers advice. There will be mini lectures on Access to Higher Education and an opportunity to talk to support teams about funding, childcare and travel options.

The College will be bustling with live music performances, stalls, engaging demonstrations and even a soft play area with face painting for younger visitors. The courtyard gazebo and PL1 Deli will be serving a range of delicious food throughout the event prepared by hospitality and catering students. For more information, please visit cityplym.ac.uk/events or call 01752 305300.

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