International Access Programme Qualifications

International Access Programme (IAP)

Purpose of the IAP

This is a flexible suite of 60 credit qualifications designed to meet the needs of learners who wish to

  • Progress to a degree programme at a university or other higher education provider in either the UK or overseas
  • Progress to employment
  • Progress to a higher-level apprenticeship
  • Change a career route or improve career progression

Aims of the IAP Qualifications

  • To build on the existing knowledge, understanding, skills and experience, so learners can progress from their current level of education or return to learning.
  • The development of knowledge and skills in chosen subject disciplines so learners are able to progress to higher level study or employment.
  • The development of study skills to prepare learners for progression to Higher Education, a level 4 apprenticeship, to support life-long learning and/or enable learners to improve their effectiveness in the workplace.
  • The application of the knowledge and skills in a vocational context facilitating increased levels of understanding of organisations and how they function.
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of individual roles in organisations to which learners may aspire.
  • Flexibility of choice in different subject disciplines, so that learners can optimise potential career paths.
  • Ability to accumulate learning credit over different periods of time to meet individual learner needs.
  • To create a portfolio of evidence in specific subject areas during the learning, which can be used to provide evidence of achievement and for future reference.

IAP Qualification Specifications

Progression Opportunities

The International Access Programme provides a menu of diploma options to meet individual requirements.  The number of diplomas a learner wishes to study, and number of credits required for progression will vary.

Learners may progress to:

  • employment or have increased opportunities for progression in their current role
  • a higher level ATHE qualification at Level 4 or above, in a related subject
  • the first year of a degree programme 

Typically, learners aged 16 plus who wish to progress to a degree programme with a higher education institute, should consider studying two or three diplomas to total 120 or 180 credits which is considered to meet the general entry requirements to a degree programme at Level 4 (as dependent on HEI entry requirements and the degree programme), and provides exemption to a foundation year programme.

For mature learners aged 19 plus with existing qualifications and experience, wishing to progress within a role, or to a degree programme at Level 4 this could be 120 credits or less.  Mature learners may therefore wish to study less than three diplomas.  ATHE’s Recognised Prior Learning, Credit Transfer and Exemptions Policy provides individuals with the maximum opportunity to be recognised for their prior qualifications and experience in taking up these learning opportunities.

Learners should seek guidance and check university and programme entry requirements before selecting the individual diplomas they plan to study.