Why Mature Students Nationwide are Accessing Higher Education with One Awards

3rd October 2017 Date of publication

We work with learning providers across the UK to support adults and mature students into university and bright new careers and have particularly close partnerships with colleges in North and West Yorkshire.

Here, students can choose from 70 Access to HE diplomas - a fantastic, established route to higher education and professional development and there were some 2,000 learners on our Access courses in 2016/17.

One of our many successful partnerships is with Calderdale College, of Halifax - the sole provider of higher education awards and the largest FE centre in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

Before and after switching to ONE Awards as its Access Validating Agency (AVA), the college enjoyed regular visits and communication from us, with a constant flow of information about how we run access provision and how delivery can be improved. The Head of Higher Education, Access and Professional Studies has praised us for being always helpful, friendly and available when needed – qualities we know our centres value.

She also commended the unstinting support that made the transition from one AVA to another smooth, speedy and trouble-free for staff and students alike. With learners benefiting from a broader range of diploma courses for increased university options, the head summed up coming aboard as an Access to HE Provider with us as, “The best thing we have ever done!”

Higher education should be available to anyone

Today, the concept of lifelong learning and plugging back into education at all ages is well-established, following seismic social shifts over the last 40 years. A gradual erosion of the ‘job for life’; the popular desire for vocational careers; and inclusion-for-everyone agendas have all fuelled the direction of travel.

It is now commonly accepted that higher education should be available to anyone who is qualified and wishes to study. As such, thousands of people who don’t fit the established undergraduate mould of an 18-19-year old with A levels are signing up.

Indeed, entry of mature students (people over 21 on 30th September of the academic year they start their first degree) to university has risen dramatically, according to a recent NUS report. This found that numbers had bloomed from 10 per cent of all students in 1980 to nearly a third by 2012.

Why choose One Awards?

Naturally, those who commit to new learning to make themselves more marketable to employers or for personal fulfilment - with all the hard work, lifestyle changes and financial costs this incurs - demand the best education consultant. One that can ensure their success and open doors for them.

This has led rising numbers of colleges and training centres nationwide to choose One Awards support to deliver Access to HE diplomas. They are attracted by a host of highly compelling selling points:

  • We have the lowest risk rating from QAA
  • Our fees are very competitive
  • We have great expertise in dealing with provider transfers and offer exceptional support mechanisms to help with the process
  • We are highly responsive and supportive, with colleges’ queries always dealt with efficiently and quickly
  • We are very flexible in diploma development and we work with centres collaboratively to ensure success within the parameters of the QAA licence
  • We provide a huge range of diploma courses - from Art and Design to Health through Media, Science, Engineering and many more
  • We hold regional networking and updating events for anyone concerned with university access - whether they work with us or not - to raise the profile of the diploma
  • We promote access in communities that colleges work in, helping them recruit for their courses
  • Our certification turnaround is two working days from receipt of results - often quicker
  • We have very close links with HE institutions and proactively foster new relationships
  • Our free QAA commended results service allows HEIs to check students’ results remotely as soon as they are awarded.

Now in our 21st year of helping providers, we have grown rapidly from strong regional player into a pre-eminent national force. Reaching out beyond the North East, where we were established and where we honed our expertise, we engage with centres and learners up and down the country and run a series of free information forums nationwide.

The latest of these is our Admissions Fair for Access to HE Students, at St James’ Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Thursday 19th October 2017, 10:00am-3:30pm.

It is one of the the UK’s leading adult HE event, offering mature students and their tutors the chance to meet with 24 universities and education advisors from across the UK, to discuss Access to HE diplomas.

Here, they can speak directly to HE providers’ representatives about their courses and what they offer mature students and employers. They can also learn about career opportunities and progression routes after graduation; find out how HE institutes handle applications; and what they are looking for from Access to HE applicants.

Find out more at and, to secure your place

And, for colleges interested in our Access to HE offer who cannot attend, we will be hosting a series of one-to-one meetings with our team at times and venues around the country that are convenient for you. Please email to arrange.

Back to News