Access to HE | NSCG
Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content
Newcastle College
Stafford College

Have you been out of education for a while but dream of studying at university-level to succeed in your dream career? NSCG's programme of Access to Higher Education Diplomas can help you to get to where you want to be and will give you the necessary skills to prepare you for university study.

The Access to HE Diploma is a nationally recognised qualification (equivalent to A Levels) allowing you to progress to Higher Education and suitable for adult learners aged 19+. These courses are ideal if you have been out of education for some time, especially if you left school with too few qualifications to be able to go straight to university. They provide a good foundation in the knowledge and skills required for studying at university level, so that you will be confident and well prepared to go on to higher education.

The Access to HE course is a Level 3 modular, credit-based programme for adults aged 19 and over that prepares and gets them a recognised qualification to progress to higher education (HE). You will be fully supported by our caring and approachable team, all of who know exactly the challenges of studying, whilst juggling family commitments.

As well as helping you take the desired study route to move towards your career, our team will help you to fulfil skill gaps, take a different career path, improve key expertise and employability, or help you to progress to university.

Transform your future

If you want to change your career and become more confident in your career choices, then one of our Access to Higher Education Diplomas are designed to fast track your route to university. Our courses are filled with return-to-work mums, mature people looking for a more meaningful career and adults who maybe weren’t sure what they wanted when they left school, but now want to train for a profession, so you'll get to study and socialise with learners from a variety of backgrounds.

Studying has never been easier. With flexible study options, including full and part-time courses, you could soon be on your way to becoming a nurse, midwife, paramedic, teacher, prison officer or social worker, just like many of our recent mature students.

Help with finances

Don't be put off by the cost of the course, as an Advanced Learner Loan is open to anyone aged over 19 studying a Level 3 or above qualification, is not means tested or subject to credit checks. If you successfully complete your Access to HE course, progress onto and complete a degree, you do not have to pay back your Advanced Learner Loan.

If you're aged 19-23 and studying your first full-time Level 3 programme your course will be completely free.

NHS Learning Support Fund

If you're thinking of a career in healthcare all students studying nursing, paramedics, occupational therapy, midwifery and other allied health professional students may be eligible for a training grant of at least £5000 a year which they will not need to pay back to help cover study costs. For more information click here.

What can I expect?

The Access to HE Diploma is a course which runs over one year (September to May). Students should expect to be in College for 15 hours per week over 3 days and to undertake 15 hours private study per week.

The Access to HE Diploma (Health Professionals) pathway can be studied on a part-time basis over 1 year. This is an intensive course and you would be expected to attend college 2 evenings per week plus some private study from home.

What will I learn?

All students will study at least three subject modules at Level 3 relevant to their chosen progression route and study skills (preparing for higher education).


Why not come along to one of our taster sessions where you'll get a feel for what it's like to study an Access course with us. Tasters run on various days/evenings throughout the year. See our events page for details.

How do I apply?

Applying to study an Access to HE Diploma at NSCG is quick and easy.

1. Visit our website and complete an online application form for the Access course of your choice

2. Come in for a chat with our team at one of our Adult Open Events or Taster sessions! You’ll be invited to our campus to meet your tutor and chat through the course. You may be asked to complete a personal statement before your appointment, this is nothing to worry about! This allows our team to find out more about you and your career ambitions and make sure you are on the right course.

3. Offer! You’ll be offered either an unconditional or conditional place on the course depending on your current qualifications.

If you have further queries

For further information please email

Our Access to HE Diplomas are validated by AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group.

Meet the Team

newcastle College

Helena Smith

Helena Smith

Access to HE lecturer

My name is Helena Smith and I have taught on the Access to HE course at NSCG for over ten years. I teach subjects including sociology, psychology, health studies and study skills. I am also a personal tutor for the social science pathway. I have a BSc honours degree in psychology and also a PGCE in further education from Cardiff University. My interests include reading, yoga and exercise such as walking and running.

newcastle College

Amanda Garside

Amanda Garside

Access to HE lecturer

My name is Amanda Garside and I have worked at NSCG for over 15 years. I am an Access to HE lecturer and also Curriculum Leader for our Foundation Degrees in Education and Early Childhood Studies. I love seeing our learners progress and achieve their dream careers.

I started here in 2006 as an assessor in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.The majority of my roles have included helping adults to engage with education, alongside completing my most recent qualification of a Master’s in Education.

Outside of work, I enjoy craft, art and going to the theatre. I enjoy making things using my sewing skills and when I have the time. I also enjoy spending time with my small children, helping them learn, play and enjoy life which always keep me on my toe!