Access to Higher Education

Discover how far an Access to Higher Education programme could take you - with career pathways available across the arts, business, science and nursing and social sciences.

What is a career pathway?

A career pathway is a series of building blocks that will take you to your future career. Our career pathway maps will show you the best routes through college, higher education and employment and into the most popular industry sectors.

Our aim is to offer every learner a direct line of sight to employment. This means that we will equip you with the skills, attributes and knowledge that future employers want, giving you a greater chance to succeed.

Our Access to Higher Education pathway opens up the opportunity to access university level study for adult learners. 

We offer four Access to Higher Education career pathways, each leading to related university and career options:

  • Art: leading on to degrees in art and design, fine art, graphic design, fashion or visual communications. Choose this pathway and you could work as an artist, museum curator, art therapist or graphic designer. 
  • Business: leading on to degrees in business, finance, marketing, accounting and human resources.
  • Science and nursing: leading on to degrees in biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, maths, engineering, pharmacology and dietetics.
  • Social sciences: leading on to degrees in criminology, sociology, psychology, education, health, social work, politics, English and history.

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What could my future job look like? 

Here are some examples of the tasks that you may be carrying out:

  • Art therapist: working with patients with mental or physical conditions, increasing their wellbeing and sense of worth through art practice.
  • Graphic designer: create visually exciting materials, such as logos, brochures, posters and digital banners, to convey your organisation's message across. 
  • Human resources officer: work as part of a team to recruit and induct employees, as well as writing and implementing organisational policies and mediate on any employment related issues.
  • Environmental manager: help organisations devise and adopt green policies and practices, so they can meet their environmental obligations.
  • Nurse: assess patients, administer care and medications and monitor their progress in a variety of health settings, often working closely with other health sector professionals.
  • Dentist: help patients, including children and the elderly, maintain a good oral health, diagnosing and treating any dental issues such as tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Psychologist: treat and diagnose patients with mental health conditions, with treatments including psychotherapy and group therapy.



Our aim is to equip you to be successful in the job market,

whether you are heading for a job straight after your time at

college, plan to take a university-level programme first or are

already working in a part-time job.

Industry partnerships

Access to Higher Education students at Activate Learning benefit from our many links with leading universities, such as the University of Reading, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Winchester and Southampton Solent University.

In autumn each year, access students take part in UCAS Takeover Week, with workshops run by universities on subjects such as personal statements and student finance. 

We also hold two higher education fairs, with over 40 university exhibitors at Oxford and Reading.