Access to Higher Education Diploma: Social Sciences

Course Information

  • Course Code: RV103
  • Duration: 1 academic year
  • Validated by: Ascentis
  • Study mode: Full Time

The Access to Higher Education Diploma - Social Sciences provides excellent preparation for people who wish to study social, youth and community related courses at University level. This course is especially designed for mature students who do not have the necessary academic qualifications to apply for University level study but who wish to study at University level in the future.

Social work is all about people. Social workers must form constructive relationships with individuals and families who are facing challenges. The social worker supports and works with their clients to help them to find long-lasting solutions to their difficulties and to make improvements in their lives. Professionally qualified social workers are helped in their day-to-day work by social work assistants and social care workers. Local authority social services departments are the largest employers, but there are also opportunities with the NHS (in hospital, community or mental health settings), charities and other organisations.

Social workers are employed within all types of communities and deal with people of all ages and backgrounds. Every case is different. Employers are keen to attract social workers who reflect society at large, so male and female applicants from different ethnic and religious backgrounds and people with disabilities are welcomed.

As problems do not only arise during office hours, social workers sometimes have to work in the evenings and at weekends. You may be expected to be able to drive - if you can't, you'll find that your choice of jobs is restricted.

Applicants to social work training and employment undergo background checks and must show that they are physically and mentally fit to do the work. Social workers need to be registered by their appropriate Care Council.

We strongly advise you to check the entry criteria for the degree you wish to progress to at University to ensure you meet all the requirements.

What will I study?

You will study on this programme for 12 hours per week, completing three subjects at Level 3 (the equivalent of A-levels). In addition you will attend a tutorial session where your study skills will be developed and you will receive excellent preparation for University level study with our 'Study Skills' module. The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a modular course which involves you studying a combination of units. All units are compulsory and must be completed by all students who wish to achieve this award. 

You will study the following subjects at Level 3:

  • Sociology Level 3
  • Criminology Level 3
  • Social Issues in Health Care Level 3

All students on the Diploma will then complete the following mandatory units in a weekly tutorial:

  • Academic Writing
  • Preparing to Progress
Entry Requirements

As this is a demanding A-level equivalent programme, you should have a minimum of 4 GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above, or equivalent qualifications, including English and Mathematics. You should also have evidence of study within the last five years. 

Applicants who do not have recent experience of study but have relevant work or life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview, you should still apply in this case. The interview will consider prior formal qualifications, and evidence of experience gained through employment or other verifiable sources.

You must have relevant work experience for this course. The following are examples of the work we regard as suitable to demonstrate your aptitude for a career in social, youth or community work: 

  • Care Assistant
  • Home Care Assistant
  • Voluntary work with various organisations such as The Women's Centre, community projects
  • Work with clubs and societies such as Scouts, Guides, Youth Clubs

Not classed as suitable work experience:

  • Periods of being in care yourself
How will I be assessed?

You'll be assessed by coursework and examinations throughout the course. 

What can I do next?

This programme is designed to prepare you for study at Degree level

Your Study Programme

View Study Programme Information

Career Options

Social Worker

If you want to make a positive difference in the community, a career as a social worker could be a perfect choice for you. To become a social worker you will need to study a three-year undergraduate degree or a two-year postgraduate degree in social work that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will also need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). As a qualified social worker your job will be to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds and be able to gain their trust, in order to help them. Often you’ll be put in situations where your tact, patience and understanding will be needed and you’ll need to assess and cope with these situations in a sensitive and non-judgemental way.?

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Social Work Assistant

If you want to help and support people in the community, this could be a great job for you. Social work assistants help qualified social workers. The clients you work with could be in the community, in hospitals and in other settings such as residential care homes.

Employers will usually consider experience to be more important than your qualifications. They may ask for a good standard of general secondary education. To be a social worker’s assistant you will need a practical and flexible approach to work. You will also need to be patient and understanding.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Local Government Officer

As a local government officer, you would be responsible for putting council policies into practice. You would also make sure that local services are delivered well. If you are keen to be involved in your local area and want to work in an office, this job could be perfect for you.

To become a local government officer, you will need to be able to deal with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. You will also need good negotiating and organisational skills.

The skills and experience that are needed will vary depending on the duties and level of responsibility. Experience of working in a customer service environment and IT skills are highly valued by employers and may help to improve your chances of finding work.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Probation Officer

If you want a fulfilling job that could help change people's lives for the better, this job could be ideal for you. Probation officers supervise people serving community and prison sentences. They also help with their rehabilitation after release.

To qualify, you would start out as a probation services officer, then train for a degree or postgraduate award in Community Justice and the Level 5 Diploma in Probation Practice.

To be a probation officer, you will need to be able to get on with a wide range of people and have a fair-minded approach. You will also need to stay calm under pressure and be able to handle challenging behaviour.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Probation Services Officer

If you would enjoy the challenge of helping people to change their lives for the better, this job could be ideal for you. Probation services officers (PSOs) supervise people serving community and prison sentences. They also help with their rehabilitation after release.

You will need a good general standard of education and some paid or voluntary experience to start this job as a trainee.

To become a probation services officer, you will also need to have excellent communication and 'people' skills. You will also need to stay calm under pressure. Sometimes you may need to handle challenging behaviour.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire