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OCNLR Level 3 Certificate in Bridging Skills for Higher Education

click on the image to view our new Bridging Skills for Higher Education leaflet.

The Certificate in Bridging Skills for Higher Education is a new qualification designed for people working in healthcare and social care who want to progress their careers by studying to become a registered nurse or other health professional. It is part of the Skills for Health Bridging Programme - an initiative designed to provide people with the academic skills they need for higher level study. The qualification will build confidence as well as develop skills, and will demonstrate to universities a readiness to study.

Who is the Certificate for?

The qualification is intended for those with jobs in health and social care who are working towards or have recently completed, a Level 3 vocational qualification, and who want to enter higher education to study nursing or other healthcare professional courses., The qualification is specifically for those who do not have ‘A’ levels and may not have the time or resources to do and Access to HE Diploma course.

What are the key features?

The Certificate

  • helps to develop the academic skills people need to study in higher education;
  • is designed to be offered alongside level 3 vocational qualifications in health or social care;
  • consists of five units that include developing skills in essay and report writing, project work, and finding and reading information;
  • is nationally recognised, listed on the Framework of Regulated Qualifications and regulated by Ofqual;
  • is eligible for funding from the Skills Funding Agency (subject to certain conditions);
  • has a credit value of 16, based on 112 guided learning hours;
  • attracts 70 UCAS points.

Further Details

Who can become a centre to run the bridging programme?


  • Employers such as NHS Trusts
  • Further education colleges
  • Higher education institutions.

Any employer, FE college or other organisation wishing to become a centre must enter a partnership arrangement with a university or other higher education institution and develop a progression agreement with a university or other higher education institution.

How to become a centre

What is the Skills for Health bridging programme?

More information about the Skills for Health bridging programme.

More information about the qualification.

If you are someone working for an NHS Trust or similar organisation who is interested in taking the Certificate you should contact your employer and ask if they are running the Bridging Programme.

How will the work be assesssed?

Assessments are set internally, internally marked and internally verified by the centre. The resulting portfolios are then externally verified by OCN London. We encourage flexibility and variety in approaches to assessment to accommodate different learning styles.

We have developed exemplar assessments and an optional e-portfolio system specifically for the Bridging Skills to Higher Education qualification.

For more information and a demonstration call 020 7278 5511 or email c.rugg-easey@ocnlondon.org.uk

Progression routes

Read the letters of support we have received from universities endorsing the qualification.
Buckinghamshire New University
London South Bank University
Middlesex University

About OCN London

OCN London is one of the first awarding organisations to offer the Level 3 Certificate in Bridging Skills for Higher Education.

We are a well-established national awarding organisation with an impressive 25-year history of developing and accrediting qualifications. We are a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status, dedicated to widening participation, employer engagement and lifelong learning for all. We are also a market leader in the recognition of achievement through credit-based units and qualifications. We work with a broad range of centres across the UK who are delivering our national qualifications. We are regulated by Ofqual and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

Why work with us?


  • We are agile and responsive. This means you will get a personal service with direct access to a named contact and a quick turnaround.
  • We offer a personal service. We pride ourselves on our relationships with centres. The person you work with is part of our organisation and a trusted colleague.
  • We work with you to make sure you get the best results. The people we work with regard us as a partner, not just supplier.
  • We have a reputation for high quality. The OCN London brand carries national recognition and kudos.
  • We are flexible and accommodating. Although we are rigorous in the way we work, you won’t experience a ‘tick box’ approach.
  • We offer exceptional value for money. Just ask the people we work with.
  • We are committed to widening participation, inclusion, social justice and the belief that learning can change lives.