A special presentation sponsored by Alun Davies, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, was held at the Senedd to celebrate the Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year Awards.
In 2015-16 over 1800 adult learners in Wales enrolled onto an Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diploma, a national qualification recognised by all universities in Wales as equivalent to three A Levels. The Diploma is specifically designed to provide adults with an opportunity to prepare for and progress to higher education.
Access to Higher Education Manager at Agored Cymru, Victor Morgan said, "Access to Higher Education plays a very important role in adult learning in Wales
“Access to Higher Education attracts extraordinary adult learners from diverse backgrounds. Often learners have overcome major personal, social and economic barriers to achieve the Diploma and to fulfil their aspirations of progressing to university”.
Now in its sixth year, the prestigious Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year Awards celebrates the amazing achievements of Access learners across Wales. This year’s winners and runner - up are no exception.
Victor Morgan continues: “I would personally like to offer my warmest congratulations to the winners and runner - up of this year’s Access to Higher Education Learner of Year Awards and to all those learners who have worked so hard to achieve an Access to Higher Education Diploma”.
Coleg y Cymoedd learner, Chris Major won runner-up in the ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’ category, and was presented with his award by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies:
“One of the Key messages from the Programme for Government is that everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their potential. Access to Higher Education Diplomas provide a second chance for learners to excel. This afternoon we are honouring three learners whose achievements exemplify why these Diplomas are so important”.
The Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diploma successfully addresses the need to enhance the workforce in vocational areas central to the Welsh economy. In 2015-16 in Wales, 1,080 learners were registered on Access to Higher Education Diplomas related to the health and social care sector (58% of all registrations).
There are 16 Diplomas available across a variety of subject areas, many of which are linked to vocational areas where there is a particular demand for specialist skills.
The latest Diploma to be developed allows adult learners to pursue careers within the financial sector via the new Access to Higher Education Diploma (Financial Services), which has received endorsements from key Welsh employers as well as higher education providers.
In 2014-15, 83% of all learners completing an Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diploma progressed to a higher education course in Wales.
Executive Chair of Agored Cymru, John Graystone, said: " Adult learning is vital in creating a stable business environment and ensuring continued economic growth in Wales.
"Everyone involved in adult education recognises the impact that learning can have on the lives of individuals, families, communities, businesses and the Welsh economy.
"As the awarding body of choice, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to recognise and celebrate adult learning in Wales."