What is the Skills for Health Bridging Programme?

Image: What is the Skills for Health Bridging Programme?The key aim of the Skills for Health Bridging Programme is to provide opportunities for capable and motivated members of the Healthcare workforce to progress to health related HE vocational programmes offered by HEIs in England, including:

  • pre-registration nursing degrees
  • all other health related vocational programmes in Higher Education
  • vocational Foundation Degrees and vocational HE Diplomas

Bridging Programme combination

All relevant HEIs in England have been asked by Skills for Health and Health Education England to consider applications from all candidates with the Bridging Programme combination:

  • A Skills for Health approved Level 3 Vocational Qualification in healthcare (for example, a Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support) 
  • The Level 3 Certificate in Bridging Skills for Higher Education
  • English and maths competence specified by each HEI

The Bridging Programme develops the study skills and prepares learners for entry to Higher Education: the skills needed to prepare, progress and succeed in health related vocational programmes in Higher Education in England.

The Bridging Programme includes a national qualification and takes around 12-20 weeks to complete part-time. The Programme develops skills in academic research and writing, examination technique and planning and preparation for entry to HE.

The Bridging Programme integrates study skills learning and assessment into vocational learning programmes offered at level 3, inside and outside Apprenticeships.

Please note that for learners undertaking the Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support, the mandatory units include equivalent units to those in the Level 3 Certificate in Bridging Skills for Higher Education.

The Bridging Programme also develops:

  • Critical thinking skills - addressing the known barriers to critical thinking - contextualising learning in the personal and work lives of learners.
  • An understanding of personalised learning and the benefits of finding out and exploiting ways of learning which work most effectively for each individual learner. This will be essential, especially given that learners will come to the Bridging Programme with different work histories and from diverse personal backgrounds and cultures.
  • An ability to reflect on progress towards short and long term learning goals, to identify obstacles to achievement and how to address them.

Who is the Bridging Programme for?

Healthcare workers and learners, working at and achieving vocational qualifications at or above level 3 (inside or outside an Apprenticeship) and who wish to progress into health-related vocational programmes in Higher Education, using a combination of their vocational qualification(s) and the Bridging Programme qualification. They will be:

  • learning at work in health and or social care
  • unlikely to have A levels
  • unlikely to have the time or resources to do a full or part time Access to HE course.

Learning at a Higher Education Institution can be very different from learning at work. The Bridging Programme also teaches learners to understand the variety of opportunities available to them in HE, and to prepare themselves personally for the experience and plan their application.

Are Maths and English included in the Bridging Programme?

No. Many learners will already have achieved maths and English qualifications before they start the Bridging Programme, or be in the process of acquiring these as part of their Apprenticeship. HE providers each have slightly different maths and English entry requirements.

Can prior learning at work count towards entry to HE or towards a HE vocational health qualification?

Some universities may be willing to ‘recognise prior learning’ (often referred to in England as APL) which could help some healthcare and social care workers to gain entry to health-related vocational programmes in Higher Education – particularly where they do not hold current level 3 vocational qualifications or where these were achieved (usually) more than five years ago. RPL/APL can also be a means of gaining credit towards a Nursing Degree and other health related vocational programmes in Higher Education.