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Career Coach: your first step on the path to a new job?

Career Coach: your first step on the path to a new job?


02 Jan, 2020

Most adults returning to study choose programmes based on their career goals. Now, for the first time, Career Coach helps users search for Access to Higher Education Diplomas linked to their chosen careers, highlighting the skills and knowledge needed to enter particular job roles and industries

Career Coach is an online tool that helps match prospective students with the Access to HE programme that best supports their professional ambitions.

Career Coach Desktop

This interactive tool offers a great way to browse up-to-date information on average and potential wages, and the latest job vacancies, and to find the best career opportunities for you. It also highlights current demand for jobs and professions.

Key features

1. Career assessments

  • Take an online survey to find out more about yourself. The tool will map your answers to traits and match these traits to career suggestions based on your interests and skills.


Career Aessments

  • The assessment could also help you translate your military skills into words that are in more common use in the civilian job market.

Skills employers are looking for

2. Up-to-date data on wages, employment opportunities and common routes through education to real jobs


Up-to-date Wages

3. A search function for Access to HE courses that will help you reach your career goals

4. A CV builder to create a professional and modern CV that can pull together skills from your role in the Services 


CV Builder


5. Opportunity to sign up for an account to save information about your career search, and to save your assessment and CV

Career Coach is hosted by Emsi. Find Career Coach on the Access to HE website and try it for yourself!

Higher education is not for everyone, but it could be your path through transition to a new career

Access to HE Diplomas

Access to Higher Education (HE) Diplomas are designed to prepare adults to succeed in higher education by giving them the skills, subject knowledge and confidence they need in a supportive and encouraging environment. They are equivalent to A-levels and recognised by UK higher education providers. Every year more than 25,000 students successfully complete an Access to HE Diploma and are accepted on to higher education courses. Around half of these students are aged 25 or older and many left school with few qualifications. 

Nick Petford

Often people worry that they won’t be able to afford university. You don’t need to pay money in advance – tuition and living cost loans are not like commercial loans. If you live in England, you may also receive a childcare allowance grant that doesn’t need to be repaid. You can see if you get help for childcare using the calculator on Many universities also offer bursaries to help with the cost of going to university.

Tuition fees for Access to HE Diplomas vary. However, if you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to pay for your Access to HE studies the fees will be around £3,350. This government-backed scheme makes Advanced Learner Loans available to eligible students aged 19 and over. More information is available from Loan repayments don’t start until you start to earn more than £25,725 per year and students successfully completing a QAA-recognised Access to HE Diploma will have the balance of their Advanced Learner Loan written off when they complete their higher education studies.

Funding your studies

Service leavers have several options to fund their studies: 

  • Enhanced Learning Credits (if you’re registered) 
  • the Publicly Funded FE/HE scheme (the higher education course must be done immediately after the Access to HE courses)
  • an Advanced Learner Loan.

Funding your studies

The publicly funded FE and HE scheme pays for your Access to HE Diploma and degree, as long as the Diploma is in a subject leading to degree and is done immediately before your degree studies. Your education officer will have more information. You may prefer to use learning credits (ELC or SLC) to pay for your course, and many Access to HE providers are on the ELCAS website. 

It is important to look in to your funding options carefully to make sure you make the best choice for you and your family. Access to HE providers, your education officer or transition staff should be able to help you choose the best route. 

Higher education is not for everyone, but it could be your path through transition to a new career. 

Let’s get started…

Once you’ve got your funding in place you’re ready for that new start and need to enrol. (You might be interviewed to make sure the course is right for you.) 

Find out about courses on our website and check the ELCAS website too.

Think carefully about how you like to work. Are you happiest working as part of a team? If so, perhaps learning that involves some classroom activity is best for you. Online learning might be best if you can’t get to college regularly, or you prefer to work as an individual, although nowadays most courses have some parts that are completed online. 


Ready to find out more?

Visit these websites for more information: 

History of Access to HE and the role of QAA

QAA regulates the Access to HE Diploma by licensing Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) to award the Access to HE Diploma. QAA manages the Diploma specification, which governs the structure of the qualification, and the licensing criteria that detail how AVAs must manage the qualification.

The qualification was established in the 1970s and continues to be designed to increase participation in higher education by individuals who are under-represented.