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Returning to Education – Adult Learners 

There are many reasons to return to education, perhaps you have a specific career in mind or would like a career change, or you may wish to carry on where you left off with your education. We also know that there are many factors to consider when returning to education. On this page we explain some of the different options available to you, and signpost to a range of support to help you achieve your goals. 

Know what you need 

If you are considering a return to education, it is helpful to understand your starting point and the entry requirements for your desired course. This can help you take the steps towards your chosen career/sector area. 

If you don’t hold a Level 2 qualification (GCSEs or equivalent)Many courses that are used as a stepping stone into higher level study will require GCSE (or equivalent) English and Maths. 
If you don’t hold these qualifications, there are many colleges which offer part-time GCSE courses specifically for adult learners. Courses usually take one year to complete (part-time) and are designed to be flexible around your existing commitments. 
If you don’t hold a Level 3 qualification (A-Level/T-Level or equivalent)Many higher education courses will require a Level 3 qualification as part of their entry requirements. 
If you don’t hold a Level 3 qualification you may opt to study for an ‘Access to Higher Education Diploma’ in your chosen subject area. These are part-time courses which equip you with the skills and knowledge to progress to higher education and are often grouped into subject areas depending on what you end goal is, e.g., Healthcare, Engineering, Humanities. 
If you hold a Level 3 qualification (A-Level/T-Level or equivalent) If you hold a Level 3 qualification you can check whether this meets the entry requirements of your chosen higher education course. If it does not, speak to the university or college to ask them what you may need. 
If you meet the entry requirements, you can make an application to your chosen course. Depending on the course type, this may be done through UCAS, to the university or college directly, or to the employer if you are applying for an apprenticeship. 

Know where to look

There are lots of sources of information to help you decide on your next steps and we have outlined some of these below.