Former Access to HE student in Computer Science
Access to Higher Education was perfect for me, as I didn't have a full Level 3 qualification. Other qualifications such as A levels and BTEC take two years to complete. The Access to HE Diploma gave me an equivalent qualification in half the amount of time.
I didn't do too well during my time in college after I left school, and I was so unsure about what I wanted to do with myself. So, I held off making any serious decisions, in terms of going to university and pursuing something I may have zero interest in.
Years later, during the pandemic, like a lot of people my age, I was jobless and struggling to find something that I wanted to do. The job market wasn't going to be kind to me, as I didn't have any real qualifications. So, I decided to pursue an Access to HE Diploma, specialising in Computer Science. I have always had an interest in technology and am constantly browsing through the latest news related to consumer technology and data. It is a field I have watched evolve into what it is today.
Access to Higher Education was perfect for me, as I didn't have a full Level 3 qualification. Other qualifications such as A levels and BTEC take two years to complete. The Access to HE Diploma gave me an equivalent qualification in half the amount of time. The pandemic gave me the perfect opportunity to go back to college and get my Diploma.
It was a challenging experience but also was quite an interesting time to get back into education. I had amazing tutors at college that made coming back a very smooth process and they were very supportive. Because I already knew some of the course content, I didn't have such a hard time returning to study. I was completely transparent with my tutors, who were always helpful and approachable.
Everything took place online - Microsoft Teams was my main classroom. This was quite an adjustment to get used to, but I was lucky enough to attend a college that already had experience delivering the Access HE Diploma online. It was challenging at times because we were in a global pandemic and some of the topics were quite tough as well. Maths wasn't my strongest topic in school, but my tutors made it easy for me to understand for my Advanced Maths module.
Following the completion of my Diploma, I now work as a Product Analyst for Choreograph. Alongside my employment, I'm doing a Level 4 Data Analytics apprenticeship with Multiverse. The apprenticeship suits me as I don't like the idea of debt, and don't like the length of time it takes to get a degree. As I'm a little bit older than the average university student, I wanted to get straight back into the world of work. I always had in mind getting an apprenticeship with a good training provider. Apprenticeships are an excellent alternative to university. University is great for a lot of things, but it just wasn't for me. With my apprenticeship, I get a highly sought-after qualification (equivalent to the first year of undergraduate study) with an amazing trainer, whilst also working for a global firm. It couldn't get any better.
During my time on the Access to HE Diploma, I was introduced to Structured Query Language (SQL) and Python coding. I use SQL every day for work, to complete data accuracy checks and search for queries. I personally would like to thank my tutor Anthony from the college, for opening my eyes to the world of SQL. He was a world-class teacher and made the language so easy to learn. It was a great introduction to the more advanced SQL course on my apprenticeship. My Access to HE Diploma also taught me how to learn in a more efficient way and how to get a lot done in a very short space of time.
The Access to HE Diploma gave me the foundation and brought me where I am today. I'm currently working in a cross-functional role, with a mix of technical and product-related responsibilities. I managed to get there in a very short space of time because of my Diploma. If you're someone like me, and want to get straight into the world of work, this is definitely the route for you. Access to HE will give you the right foundation that allows you to choose your own path from there – be that university, apprenticeship or something else.