Even before the onset of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, pharmacy staff vacancy rates were on the rise. In March 2019, there was a mean vacancy rate of 8.1% for all pharmacy staff in hospital trusts, according to figures shared with The Pharmaceutical Journal by the NHS Benchmarking Network. The effects of Covid-19 have further increased the demand for qualified pharmacists. Overall, specialised medical professional roles grew by 58% in 2020.

An Access to HE diploma in Pharmacy and Bio-medical Sciences can be vital for your learners to access the employment opportunities and university places currently available.

Why study an Access to HE Diploma in Pharmacy and Bio-medical Sciences?

The Access to Higher Education Diploma in Pharmacy and Bio-medical Sciences is a Level 3 qualification which offers adult returners a coherent, integrated and supported year of study through which they will gain the knowledge, awareness, skills and confidence necessary for successful undergraduate studying in the intended progression routes for this Diploma.

Subject specific units include human biology, biological chemistry, disease and immunity, atomic physics and microbiology and biotechnology. This diploma has the following set of online courses are available support learners’ development:

  • Punctuation and Grammar
  • Writing for Purpose and Improving Accuracy Essay Writing
  • Research

The Access to HE diploma is a well established and widely accepted by universities, qualifying for UCAS tariff points that are comparable to the tariff points for three A levels. 

  • Adults who, because of social, educational or individual circumstances, were unable to participate in or benefit from initial education
  • Adults from groups under-represented in higher education.
  • Adults seeking a change of direction because of unemployment or lack of career opportunities in their previous field and who have a demonstrable interest in entering a profession within Policing.

Learners primarily progress to Higher Education study in areas related to Pharmacy and Bio-Medical Sciences. These may include some of the following areas of Degree level study:

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Nutrition
  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry degrees.

OCN London works with local universities to develop progression and partnership agreements that benefit all its providers and learners. The following agreements are in place:

Highbury College Portsmouth
Stanmore College
Westminster Kingsway College

You can find out more about these centres and the Diplomas that they offer by visiting their pages in our Access to HE Course Directory and by contacting them directly.

Information for centres

How can you deliver this qualification?

You can enquire about becoming an approved centre for delivering Access to HE Diplomas by completing the Centre Approval Enquiry Form.

You can find out more about the delivery of the Access to HE Diploma by reading our Access to HE Brochure and the OCN London Access to HE Diploma Guide.

Information for learners

How will I pay for this course?

If you are aged 19-23 and don’t already have a full level 3 qualification your Access course will be fully funded. Otherwise, if you are aged 19 and over you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of your Access to HE Diploma course. The loan will be paid directly to your college (or whoever is running the course) on your behalf.

When you complete a higher education course you will not have to repay the Advanced Learner Loan for your Access to HE Diploma course. This doesn’t have to be a full bachelor’s degree; it could be a foundation degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND) studied at a university or at a local college that offers HE courses.

The Access to HE Diploma is the only qualification that offers this loan waiver.

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