In the 2022-23 academic year, CAVA Access to HE Diploma student outcomes were exceptional, however, students who completed the Level 2 Pre-Access qualification prior to completing the Access to HE Diploma did even better in all areas. See the graph below for the comparison.

What is the Pre-Access qualification?

CAVA works in partnership with the National Open College Network (NOCN) to offer a suite of Level 2 Pre-Access qualifications. Pre-Access qualifications are an ideal choice for students with no formal qualifications to begin their academic journey and there are no specific qualifications required for entry. 

There are 3 different qualifications which come in the suite of Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development. Each of these qualifications are made up of a number of different credits with the Award being the smallest qualification at 6 credits to the Diploma which is the largest at 37 credits.  All the qualifications work within the rules of combination, with flexibility for providers to select a range of units. The different categories of units which can be found within the qualifications are as follows:
    • Personal development
    • Vocational support
    • Literacy and numeracy
    • Introduction to different sectors - the Certificate and the Diploma also include units which provide an introduction into specific subject areas. 

The different Pre-Access qualifications


The Award (Level 2 Award in Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development)

For students looking to get back into studying, the Level 2 Award in Skills for Employment, Training, and Personal Development is one of the best routes. Tailored for returnees, it contains practical, personal and vocational skills including decision-making, critical thinking skills and a toolkit for personal career preparation. It also focuses on real-world skills like assertiveness, decision-making, presentation and effective communication. Once students have successfully achieved the Award they have the opportunity to progress onto the Certificate to further develop their skills and knowledge.

The Certificate (Level 2 Certificate in Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development)

The next qualification is the Level 2 Certificate in Skills for Employment, Training, and Personal Development with 21 credits of practical, hands-on learning. This Certificate builds on the foundation laid by the Award, incorporating personal development, vocational, and literacy and numeracy units. What sets it apart is the inclusion of subject-specific units, offering a sneak peek into various fields—an invaluable opportunity for those testing the waters before committing to a Level 3 qualification. 

Importantly, students can dive straight into the Certificate without having completed the Award. It is an excellent option for students eager to bolster their confidence and skills for deeper exploration in further study. The Certificate offers a personalised roadmap for those seeking insight and a tangible feel for a subject area before taking the next academic step. 

The Diploma (Level 2 Diploma in Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development)

The final Pre-Access qualification we offer is the Level 2 Diploma in Skills for Employment, Training, and Personal Development. It is the most extensive qualification, containing 37 credits. This Diploma not only amplifies personal development but also offers a substantial platform to cultivate employability skills while refining literacy and numeracy proficiencies. It includes a range of diverse subjects, from Catering and Creative Skills to Health and Social Care, ICT, Science, Sport and Leisure, Horticulture, and Construction, the Diploma is a comprehensive exploration into varied topics. With a focus on providing students ample opportunities to enhance their skill set, this Diploma is not just about acquiring knowledge—it's about gaining a practical understanding of subjects that pique individual interests.

The benefits of running the Pre-Access qualification with CAVA

Pre-Access is beneficial for both students and providers. For students, it's a journey of personal growth and confidence development, instilling resilience and emotional preparedness for the challenges of Level 3 studies. It serves as a crucial checkpoint, allowing students to confirm their interest in a subject area and equipping them with essential study skills. It also facilitates the acquisition of vital maths and English skills, along with transferable skills that enhance employability. This supportive environment acts as a springboard to further education, smoothing the transition back into academia.

Providers, too, experience numerous advantages. Pre-Access significantly boosts retention rates and elevates achievement and pass rates among students. The program serves as a strategic tool for increasing student numbers and enhancing recruitment efforts for Level 3 courses. Tutors benefit by developing early connections with students, enabling preemptive support measures. The flexibility of running the program year-round, with verification and certification available at any time, allows for tailored courses to suit learner needs. Whether delivered part-time or full-time, Pre-Access  is a versatile and impactful qualification for both students and learning organisations.

If you are interested in running a Pre-Access course, attend our Pre-Access webinar on 11 January at 9:30 -10:30 where you can find out more. Registration is available here.