Cristina Cupido-Gomez from Manchester wanted to go to university to study Human Resource Management, but the qualifications that she had gained at school in Spain would not enable her to apply for a university course. Cristina looked into joining access courses at various colleges, but when she enquired at Manchester Metropolitan University, she was referred to The Skills Company.

Cristina made contact, and her application to join The Skills Company’s Access to Higher Education Diploma in Business course was accepted and she started in 2014. The one year course aims to improve the academic, vocational and personal skills of its students, and to prepare them for the world of higher education. Successful candidates are awarded a nationally recognised Access to HE Diploma by the awarding body Ascentis.

The Diploma is approved by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and is accepted for entry to a wide range of universities and higher education institutions. There are no formal entry requirements for the course but candidates must have a genuine interest in business and be motivated and enthusiastic.

The course is delivered in three sessions a week and Cristina was able to fit the course around her part time work in fashion retail. Cristina completed the course successfully in summer 2015.

Cristina said:

“I had a great year on the course. I’d been away from education for 18 years, and the time was just right for me. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been successful if I’d done this when I was younger. The style of the course was very different from when I was at school, with much more focus on continuous assessment, tutorials and presentations rather than just exams.”

“The group worked really well together, and I got a lot of help with functional skills as my first language is not English. I thought the learning facilities at Churchgate House were excellent, and the personal support I got from our tutor, Irfan was brilliant.”

“I’m very happy that I did the course and I’ve now been accepted on the BA Course in Human Resource Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. I’ll still be able to work part time while I’m on the course, and after I graduate I’m hoping to get a job in HR and start a whole new career.”