Why use Certa Access?

Certa Access is an Access Validating Agency (AVA), licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), to validate and quality assure Access to HE Diplomas. The Access to HE Diploma has been specially developed in partnership with higher education and further education experts to offer students a second chance towards obtaining the skills needed to go on to study for a degree at university.

choice…

With Access to HE Diplomas, it’s possible to build specific, academically sound pathways to higher education that take advantage of local university requirements.

flexibility…

At Certa Access, we allow providers to write their own assessments, enabling experienced lecturers to craft accessible yet challenging assignments for students. We also provide support for assignment writing, as well as all aspects of running an Access to HE Diploma course.

…and support

When you’re running the course, our external moderators will be on hand to provide supportive visits and act as critical friends to keep you on the right track. All Access to HE Diplomas are supported by quality moderation, award boards and referrals. We’ll guide you throughout the whole academic year, allowing you to focus on delivering high-quality classroom content.

How can I find out more information?
Please email us with any queries, or give us a call on 01924 434 601. We would be pleased to help you.

Meet the Team

Karl Stringer

Assistant Director, Access and Compliance
Karl has been working in Quality Assurance for over ten years, working in the University sector, the Awarding sector and with Access to HE Diplomas.
“As Assistant Director, Access and Compliance, my role is to ensure that our diplomas are second to none in terms of their quality and the robustness of our processes. My aim is to make offering Certa Access to HE Diplomas as accessible as possible, whilst ensuring the quality of all the qualifications across Skills and Education Group.”

Contact Karl by email or call 01924 434 601

Julie Knowles

AVA Manager
Julie has been working in the education sector for 20 years. As part of the Certa Access to HE team, Julie works with colleges and universities to develop and quality-assure Access to HE Diplomas.
"Supporting tutor teams in our centres enables excellent progression opportunities for mature learners."

Contact Julie by email or call 01924 434 601

Nigel Taylor

Business Development Manager
As the Business Development Manager for Certa Access, Nigel is integral to building relationships with both current and new customers across the Access to HE educational sector, offering advice and guidance and becoming a critical friend to all Certa Access and Skills and Education Group customers.
“I’m personable and energetic with a ‘can do’ attitude and enjoy the satisfaction of helping an organisation grow their Access to HE provision, whilst giving them the commitment and reassurement of working with a forward thinking and supportive organisation.”

Contact Nigel by email or call 01924 434 604

Susanne Dyer

Access to HE Officer
Susanne is primarily responsible for registrations and certification for students studying one of the many Access to HE Diplomas and provides administrative support for Access to HE business activities and QAA requirements.
“I have worked here for 11 years and in 2017 I joined the Access to Higher Education team to provide a coherent and efficient service to our Access to HE providers.”

Contact Susanne by email or call 01924 434 601

Aneka Cann

Brand Manager
Aneka works for Skills and Education Group, overseeing all of its brands, including Certa Access.
“When Certa Access joined Skills and Education Group in 2017, it was a great opportunity for me to review and update the look of the brand and create a new website.”

Contact the communications team by email or call 0115 8541616

Meet Some of Our External Moderators

Rita Murray, Lead Moderator

With 30 years of experience working in Access to HE provision, 24 of which have been with Certa Access, Rita specialises in Maths, Science and Engineering, and supports other curriculum strands such as Psychology and English. Rita values the opportunities her job gives her not only to work with aspiring students and committed tutors, but also to continue to learn for herself.

Noting an apparent increase in women studying STEM subjects, Rita is especially happy when female students pursue and achieve diplomas in these areas. She believes that the Access to HE Diploma builds self-esteem and self-management skills, and credits Certa Access for bringing together external moderators from diverse backgrounds and providing them the tools they need to best support learners.

Dave Pickersgill, Moderator

Dave began working with Certa Access in 2012, seeking to continue to use and develop his managerial and subject expertise. With a focus on Computing, Health Science and Science Diplomas, he has seen first-hand how the Access to HE Diploma changes people’s lives.

Previously, when working full-time in a large provider, Dave saw Certa Access learners capitalise on study skills expertise and easily customisable diplomas to achieve their employment goals, from the Wolverhampton bus driver who is now a podiatrist in the NHS to the learner who took a Psychology degree and went on to coach the Olympic gold medal winning athlete, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE.

Pauline Heywood, Moderator

Prior to joining Certa Access in the 1990s, Pauline was teaching courses in a further education college and saw that the awarding body wasn’t meeting the needs of many of the students. At Certa Access, specialising in Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, and working with Combined Studies and Education and Training Diplomas, Pauline sees students gaining confidence in themselves and realising just how much they are capable of.

Pauline attributes learners’ success to their hard work and determination, as demonstrated by one student who, having stood outside a classroom window wishing to be inside, took on numerous jobs to help her take an Access to HE Diploma. Over the course of her learner-centred, customised studies, the student’s achievements were outstanding.

John Shephard, Moderator

John joined Certa Access in 2007 and specialises in Humanities (esp. History), Social Science, Business and Education. He believes that an Access to HE Diploma is the best means of further education, providing a second chance for adult learners who missed out on opportunities when at school.

John highlights Certa Access for its friendly nature and the fact that it is locally based and developed by local practitioners. Recalling a former student who transitioned from being made redundant at a glass bulb factory to becoming a successful primary school teacher, John knows that an Access to HE Diploma gives learners the knowledge and skills that will help them to get to and succeed at university.

Alison Zucker, Moderator

Alison became an external moderator over 10 years ago, seeking to improve the quality of diplomas that she oversaw at the college where she worked. Specialising in all Humanities and Social Sciences, and in Study Skills, Alison believes the Access to HE Diplomas build learner confidence, support independent study, and provide opportunities for economic stability and prosperity.

In working with Certa Access, Alison finds the staff to be friendly, approachable, and democratic in their willingness to listen and respond to all stakeholders. One of the countless Access to HE Diploma success stories that stands out to Alison is that of a student who was a former convict. Over the course of his Diploma, he became fully engaged in his classes and with his peers. Through his hard work, he achieved a place in university, the position of captain of the University Challenge team, and the completion of his degree.

We’re all part of something bigger.
Here’s our family.

Certa Access is part of Skills and Education Group, a charitable organisation that unites education and skills-orientated organisations that share similar values and objectives. With more than one hundred years of collective experience, the Group's strategic partnerships create opportunities to inform, influence and represent the wider education and skills sector. We want all learners to achieve their full potential, no matter what their age, background or ability.

The Group also includes the Skills and Education Group Awards, a leading national awarding organisation with a long established reputation for providing high-quality support and services to the education sector through ABC Awards and Certa Awards.

Through the Skills and Education Group, you can access a range of professional development opportunities and networks. See dates for upcoming events here

Skills and Education Group

List of Trustees

Atholl Stott

Interim Chair

Gill Alton OBE

Chief Executive at Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Jason Austin

Principal and Chief Executive at RNN Group

Phil Bloor

Head of Admissions at Sheffield Hallam University

Robin Webber-Jones

Vice Principal at The Sheffield College

Yultan Mellor

Principal and Chief Executive at Northern College