Online Access to HE delivery to launch in 2023/24

15 June 2023

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Skills and Education Group Access has recently developed three new Access to HE Diplomas – with online delivery soon to be available.

The new diplomas are the Access to HE Diploma (Nursing), Access to HE Diploma (Midwifery) and Access to HE Diploma (Paramedic Science). These, along with the existing Access to HE Diploma (Health Science Professions), will all soon be available for providers to deliver online.

We have partnered with Pearl Tech in order to launch this online offer.

Our Product Development Manager, Heather Brown, explains why the new diplomas were developed, how they support current job demands in the UK, and why delivering them online could work for you.

Developed with sector and student needs in mind

I love data. It doesn’t make me interesting and it certainly doesn’t make me popular but it does make me efficient and if you look really closely at data you can see the story behind it.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, however it is also the 8th biggest employer in the world, employing approximately 1.38 million people, which is over 2% of the UK population. Now that is some good data.

If you have ever had the misfortune to go to a hospital you will know that they are fuelled by nurses. You are triaged by a nurse; monitored by a nurse; you will have your blood taken, medication administered and usually most of your questions answered by a nurse. The vast majority of your contact time with a medical professional will in fact be with a nurse, hence there are over half a million nurses in the UK – but that is not enough.

The NHS vacancy rate is 9.9%, which includes over 40,000 vacant posts for nurses. Staffing shortages and their impacts on staff and patient safety are cited as reasons for the recent widespread strikes by nurses and paramedics. The Royal College of Nurses is demanding urgent action from government to deal with the shortages, predicting that the crisis will worsen further if additional action is not taken.

From 2021 to 2022, the number of non-EU nurses joining the nursing register jumped by 149%. In fact, almost half of nurses joining the register from March 2021 to March 2022 were from outside the UK. If we are going to deal with this shortage, we need to support more people into nursing careers.

With that in mind, Skills and Education Group Access looked at our most popular Access to HE Diploma, Health Science Professions, and decided to create a suite of new qualifications to complement this diploma. The suite includes the Access to Midwifery, Access to Paramedic Science and Access to Nursing Diplomas, the latter of which has three distinct pathways for Adult, Paediatric and Mental Health specialisms. These also complement our Access to Medicine Diploma, which was launched in 2022 and has been delivered this academic year with huge success by the fantastic York College.

The new suite is more than just a renamed version of the Health Science Professions Diploma – although some units from this diploma do appear across the suite to make cross-delivery achievable. A collection of brand-new units have also been developed to help the student feel that they are really experiencing a journey towards their end goal. For example, there are emergency care units in the Paramedic Science Diploma, hospital care units in the Adult Nursing pathway, childhood and adolescent mental health units in the Paediatric and Mental Health Nursing pathways, and pregnancy health units in the Midwifery Diploma.

It is important to us that the student feels they are preparing for the future they have chosen, but also that they are keeping their options open. Students change their minds sometimes and we have worked hard to ensure that they won’t be restricted from, for instance, applying to a mental health nursing degree if they have completed the Access to Midwifery Diploma. Most Higher Education Institutions stipulate a specific number of credits in subject areas rather than unit titles, therefore whilst not an ideal situation, it would be possible in most cases for a student to apply to a different degree.

Online provision that’s tailored to you

Have you overheard any of the following phrases in your staff room?

“Our classrooms are full; we are struggling for space.”

“Adults are under so much pressure these days; they can’t study in college full time.”

“Since the pandemic, people have wanted to work and study from home, but we don’t have the systems for that.”

“We would like to deliver that unit, but we don’t have time to prepare it.”

“Help! I can’t find a tutor to cover for staff sickness – we are running out of time and options.”

As a Head of Curriculum for many years, I came across such issues constantly: battling with other departments for space, having heart-breaking conversations with adults who desperately wanted to study but had too much on their plate, and pleading with recruitment consultants to just find me someone!

I looked into online delivery options for various courses at that time, but they were all too inflexible, not up to standard, or just too pricey.

So, imagine if your Access Validating Agency teamed up with the incredible team at Pearl Tech to build an online platform that puts students and providers at the centre of the design – done! You’re welcome.

This brings so many benefits for you. You have greater flexibility with the choice of hybrid or fully online delivery. You can order one online unit, a whole diploma, or anything in between – it’s your call.

Furthermore, your learners’ start dates are more flexible and you can take advantage of our pre-written assignment briefs. Above all, the online model is tailored to your organisation.

It also enables you to diversify and grow your Access to HE provision. You can attract different demographics of learners, with online delivery allowing you to reach those from further afield. Delivering to these remote learners means you save costs, classroom space, and teaching hours.

Though moving online may be a change for you, rest assured that there is no loss of support or quality. Marking, grading and tutorials are still carried out by your tutors, and the team at Pearl Tech will always be on hand to provide technical support. Online moderation removes the need to arrange Centre visits with External Moderators, while the online system provides full tracking and reporting capabilities, making it easy for you to access information about your learners.


Get ready for online delivery

If you are interested in delivering any of the above diplomas, or would like to find out more about our online platform, please get in touch with our team. You can also find out how to become an Access to HE Centre here.

Choose from hybrid or fully online Access to HE. Our new partnership with Pearl Tech gives you greater flexibility – deliver whole diplomas or specific units online. The choice is yours.

A seamless, online learning experience