November 2020

New business and computing access courses launched to open path to university

By Melanie Hall

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University College Birmingham has stepped up its support for adults who want to move up in their education journey with the launch of two new access courses that open the path to a degree. 

As World Access to Higher Education Day gets underway, the University is now offering an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Business and Access to Higher Education Diploma in Computer Science alongside its established Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health and Social Sciences to ensure everyone has the chance to excel. 

The first intake of students on the business access course will start in January 2021, subject to validation, with a further intake in September. The first intake on the computer science access course will be in September 2021. 

The launch of the one-year, Level 3 courses, open to those over 19 with at least three years' life experience outside a formal education, builds on the University’s ongoing commitment to widening participation, ensuring those who previously missed out on the chance to go to university can aim higher in education and broaden their career opportunities. 

Our brand, new access courses are designed to support people who don’t have the necessary qualifications to complete quality higher education and advance in their career. They are excellent for anyone, irrespective of age, working in the business community who is keen to gain a degree to climb higher in their career or change direction.

Alice Wilby Pro Vice-Chancellor for Access, Participation and Student Experience

An overwhelming 97.9% of young, full-time undergraduates on BA or BSc (Hons) degrees at University College Birmingham are from state schools, 13.8% of these from areas designated as low participation neighbourhoods. And 19% of mature, full-time foundation degree undergraduate students are from low participation areas within the West Midlands. 

Alice Wilby, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Access, Participation and Student Experience at University College Birmingham, said: “Our widening participation commitment centres around ensuring opportunities are shared fairly and that people of all ages have the chance to transform their lives, boosting their career prospects in the future. 

“Our brand, new access courses are designed to support people who don’t have the necessary qualifications to complete quality higher education and advance in their career."

She added that the courses were not just for people in their 20s either. "They are excellent for anyone, irrespective of age, working in the business community who is keen to gain a degree to climb higher in their career or change direction.” 

Opening up opportunities

Equivalent to A-levels, the two new access courses, which are 3-4 days of study a week, complement the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Social Science and Health, with plans to build the access course portfolio further.

With training in the University’s new Financial Trading Suite, the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Business, awarded by Ascentis, builds both academic skills and knowledge specific to the business arena for careers in everything from marketing, retail and finance and accounting to law, human resources and management. 

The Access to Higher Education Diploma in Computer Science, awarded by the Open College Network, explores a range of areas in the field of information technology (IT), including programming and mathematics, web design, networking, cyber security, databases and systems. And students get to train in the University’s new, state-of-the-art Digital Creative Studio

Licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), both can lead on to a host of degrees at University College Birmingham, including Business, Finance and Accounting and Computing, or another university. 

World Access to Higher Education Day, now in its third year, acts as a platform to raise global awareness around inequalities in access and success in higher education. As a catalyst for international, regional and local action, organisers aim to influence policymakers and governments, as well as higher education providers. 

The day supports the goals of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a key global organisation that has made ensuring equal access to education, including university, one of its Global Goals for 2030

*If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in the new access courses, please visit the course pages to find out more. There is also a virtual college open day this Saturday 21 November, the golden chance to get insight into studying at the University and meet tutors and current students. There will also be virtual tours of the campuses and the cutting-edge training facilities. Book your place here or call 0121 232 4300. 

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