Skip to content
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

John's Journey into Access to HE

I left high school at 16 with even worse GCSEs than I imagined.

I was always involved with the local music scene and after taking any job available I worked my way up and became a Tour Manager, which I then did for nine years. It was a great job, loads of work, loads of travel and loads of fun.

In 2007 the recession hit and the lovely money that we all relied upon was no longer forthcoming from the once very generous record labels. It was back to basics. The good times were officially over. Work became harder and harder to find and when a job did materialise it was for little or no money. It was just the kick I needed.

I had been looking at a career change, one with a lot more stability, achievable goals and job progression. But I knew I needed a qualification as my employment history would not be enough to open the doors to a professional career.

The search was tough because I just couldn’t find a course that I wanted to do and one that was right for me. I knew I wanted a career but in what? So began to look into qualifications that I could combine with my previous job experience to create my career pathway.

I found a course called Go Higher that would not only give me an access diploma but access to Higher Education as an Undergraduate at the University of Liverpool.

I was advised by friends and family to choose subjects that I enjoyed so to simplify the coursework. I saw that the Arts programme involved English Literature, English Language and History. I was always interested in English and history and as the course covered both. I was in.

It ticked all the boxes. Qualification, HE, it was local and above all I wanted to do it.

So I applied. Got an interview. They liked what they heard and offered me a place.


Then the fear crept in. The insecurity, the self-confidence and my own concerns of fitting into university life all played their part but I took a deep breath and jumped in. When I got there I looked around. Everyone was like me. We were all in the same boat. There was no pretentiousness, no know-it-alls just a group of people that wanted to learn and wanted to do well. The support from the staff and co-learners was excellent and there was a real community vibe within the structure of the qualification journey. Any fears were quelled very early on.

The HE course was a part-time commitment, which consisted of one full day a week of classroom lectures with extra hours required for research, study, essay prep and writing.  Everything from the modules, room layout, teaching style, reading material and examinations and essays were all done in preparation for university and within the first month we were already prepping our Personal Statements for UCAS.

Support was available at every step.

Before I knew it the year had passed, I had qualified and I had offers from 3 different universities.

After the summer break I enrolled at the University of Liverpool as a full-time Undergraduate Student. An achievement in itself and something that would have not been possible if it were not for the Access to Higher Education course available to me.

The Go Higher programme not only gave me research and essay writing skills but the confidence to even consider the challenge of university. From having no qualifications I went from gaining an Access to Higher Education Diploma, a 2:1 BA Hons Award when I graduated as an undergraduate and to receive my postgraduate MA a year later. The Access to HE was a great decision. It gave me the confidence to challenge myself, to learn at a level I never thought possible, and provide me with the ammunition to go out and get the career that I always wanted.


Leave a Comment

* Indicates fields are required

Your name
Your email address