ACL Essex celebrated its Access to Higher Education learners on A Level results day, with one learner achieving 45 Access credits at distinction level, which is equivalent to three A grades at A Level. The Access course supports Essex residents who have not taken the traditional 18+ route to university.
Many learners across Essex achieved full Access to Higher Education Diplomas with ACL this year, and are now heading on to top universities, including the University of Essex, Anglia Ruskin University, and the University of York. ACL leavers will be studying for a degree in a wide range of fields such as social work, psychology, and biomedical sciences.
One of the many people who benefitted from ACL’s Access to Higher Education course is Ryan, who studied at ACL Colchester. At school, Ryan was diagnosed with dyslexia but also had undiagnosed ADHD, which affected his learning and ultimately his GCSE grades. With a passion for science, Ryan wanted to pursue a career in a scientific field. He joined ACL through entry-level maths and English courses, then went on to gain an A in GCSE biology and joined an Access course. Now Ryan has successfully completed his Access to Higher Education course, he’s heading to the University of Essex to study genetics and ultimately aims to work in genetic engineering.
Speaking of his experience at ACL, Ryan said: “Getting an A in GCSE biology was the first time I believed I could achieve my dream of going to university. I thought it would be impossible for someone like me to do this, but now I have an unconditional offer to go to the University of Essex. You need to be determined and focused, make something positive out of every negative experience, and keep pushing even when things get hard. If you do that, you can achieve anything.”
Councillor Tony Ball, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability, said: “It’s never too late to transition into your ideal career pathway. If you didn’t achieve the grades you needed at school, ACL are here to help. Access courses are a quicker route into university, especially if you didn’t gain A Level qualifications.”
He continued: “In addition to the Access to Higher Education course, you’ll also receive support in other areas. For example, you can attend mental wellbeing courses, build your digital skills, or attend a parenting course, with some learners even becoming Parent Ambassadors. Attending the Access course not only builds confidence and shows people they can achieve great things later in life, but also supports learners to thrive in all aspects of their lives.”
Access to Higher Education courses starting in early September 2022 include science, forensics and criminology, medicine and medical sciences, and social science, and will run for 35 weeks. While attending the course, learners are given plenty of support, and many are eligible for financial help with getting a laptop, Wi-Fi, books and course fees. There are also advanced learner loans available for some learners, childcare facilities are on offer at ACL Colchester and Maldon, and courses are part time, running three days a week.
ACL will be hosting several taster and information events from 5th to 15th September at ACL centres across the county, where Essex residents and workers can find out more about the opportunities available to them and try out various ACL courses.
To find out more about Access to Higher Education courses, and how to apply, visit www.aclessex.com/access-to-he/.