01st October 2014

Image: Bridging programme.Skills for Health has developed a unique programme to support healthcare learners who wish to progress into university. The Skills for Health Bridging Programme is designed to develop the study skills that vocational learners need to progress and succeed in health professional education programmes in Higher Education.

Within the sector, it is widely acknowledged that there are many motivated and capable vocational learners and apprentices - but some may not have had the opportunity to progress to higher level health professional education programmes.

To help these individuals, the Bridging Programme is offered alongside relevant work based vocational learning and qualifications to develop the study skills needed for Higher Education and offers another possible route into University. Successful completion of the programme leads to a national qualification: the QCF Level 3 Certificate in Bridging Skills for Higher Education. The programme is suitable for learners who have completed or are currently undertaking a relevant vocational qualification at level 3 and who have a Maths and English GCSE Grade A*- C.  

This is a new opportunity for healthcare workers and learners. Now, learners who complete the Bridging Programme alongside their vocational qualification will have the opportunity to apply to Universities offering health professional education programmes in health and social care at level 4 and above.

The qualificationBridging Skills for Higher Education is made up of 5 units and has a total credit value of 16. All units must be completed in order to achieve the qualification. These are:

  • Essential skills for Academic Study
  • Extended Academic Essay and Report Writing Skills for Higher Study
  • Extended Project Skills for Academic Study
  • Finding and Reading Information Skills for Academic Study
  • Understanding Opportunities in Higher Education

FE Colleges must have a Progression Agreement with at least one Higher Education Institution offering professional education programmes in health and social care. The Progression Agreement states what specific offer is being made to learners - for example, the offer of a place or opportunity for an interview. A personal progression agreement document is issued to each learner, detailing the offer, what they need to achieve and any further conditions.

A small number of Bridging Programme partnerships (between FE colleges and HEIs) will work together to deliver the Bridging Programme in 2014-15, with a hope that the first learners will achieve the qualification in time to apply for university in 2015. The aim is to have a full range of partnerships operating across England from September 2015.

Skills for Health will keep those interested up to date by publishing where the Bridging Programme is offered, as new partnerships come on stream.

John Rogers, CEO of Skills for Health comments, “At Skills for Health we are always looking for new ways to make healthcare learning more accessible.  We believe that everyone should be given an equal opportunity to progress their career in health care and the Bridging Programme now offers an alternative route to those who have not taken that path thus far.  We look forward to working with further education colleges and higher education institutions across the UK and progressing this initiative in partnership.”