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Keywords e.g. warehousing
Qualification Code e.g. 600/5640/X
Keywords e.g. warehousing
Unit Code e.g. Y/505/4889
Open Awards Unit ID e.g. CBF498
Keywords e.g. warehousing
Open Awards Unit Code e.g. UA33ART12
Open Awards Unit ID e.g. CBF521

Access to HE - Case Study

Kelly is a shining example of how returning to education and undertaking an Access to HE Diploma has completely changed her life.

Like many, Kelly did not have much confidence in her abilities when she was younger but, through her determination and hard work, she found her true passion in life. This is her story:

'I was always told that I would never amount to anything as I wasn’t intelligent, due to this  I went for jobs that I didn’t particularly enjoy and although I wanted to return to study I was far too nervous and if I’m honest scared that I was not intelligent enough to complete a course.  When my son was born I realised that if I wanted him to believe he could achieve any career  that he wanted to then I would have to lead by example and so 10 years ago I started and completed an Access to FE Social Sciences  Diploma at St Helens College.

It was here that I found my love for Psychology, Criminology and Sociology, I even found lessons such as Social Policy and history interesting (which I didn’t think I would).  When I was asked if I wanted to proceed to the Access to HE in Social Sciences I jumped at the chance.  I was no longer shying away from education, I embraced the course and loved every single moment of it. 

Everyone thinks that going back into education means reverting back to childhood with the dreaded red pen, being told off if you’re late and being embarrassed if you get a question incorrect…how wrong I was.

The Access to HE course worked at a pace I was comfortable with, the classes were so enthralling that I was hoping the evening would go fast just so that I could go back and hear what the tutors had to say.

From the Access to Higher Education Diploma, I went on to university where I achieved a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice (with merit), I was able to not only study Criminal Law but also Psychiatry, psychology and Criminology…It was a dream come true.  I am now teaching myself, I teach vulnerable people how to gain more self-esteem and confidence, how to believe in themselves and strive for their goals.  I can honestly say that without Access to HE I wouldn’t be where I am today,  it has changed my life for the better.


Kelly now works at The Hope Centre-helping build self-esteem and confidence of learners.

Along with Open Awards, she has set up the Breathe Programme:

Linking Breathe to the Open Awards qualifications

'Open Awards has allowed us the safety and flexibility to produce a bespoke Confidence and self-esteem course which is tailored to meet the needs of vulnerable students.  We were able to use the criteria given to mould a very successful course which allows students to address their mental health needs in a very relaxed way whilst rewarding them with not only the confidence to move forward but also a Level One qualification.  Every member of the Open Awards team who we have come into contact with has supported to the highest standard  and inspired us to produce a course which has helped so many people to better cope with their mental health/ self- esteem and confidence.'

If you could like any information about Access to HE provisions or would like to talk to one of the Open Awards team, email


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