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From GCSEs to Degrees – learndirect Moves into Higher Education After Partnering with ATHE  

A small globe positioned on a desk with graduation cap.

The UK’s leading online education provider has announced its progression into higher education after partnering with global awarding organisation ATHE, making degree-level learning achievable for people of various backgrounds and circumstances.

Known for its wide range of nationally and internationally recognised qualifications, learndirect has taken a step up by entering the world of higher education for the first time as a business.

The leading online education provider will now give people an opportunity to study for a degree online from the comfort of their own home, with the help of ATHE.

Awards for Training and Higher Education (ATHE) is an Ofqual regulated awarding organisation that is recognised worldwide for providing a portfolio of internationally recognised qualifications from Levels 3 to 7.

Today, learndirect has become an ATHE recognised centre, providing Level 4 and Level 5 Diplomas that act as Year 1 and Year 2 of university degrees, in subjects including law, accounting, health and social care management, computing, and business and management.

ATHE’s partnerships with 25 universities across the UK and the globe enables learndirect to help their learners secure progression to higher education institutions after completing Levels 4 and 5 from the comfort of their own home.

The subjects were chosen based on numerous factors, with skills shortages and industry prospects being key. For example:

  • 33% of people working in the technology sector are missing a range of digital skills
  • The demand for health and social care roles is due to grow by 25% in the next decade
  • 58% of organisations within the legal industry report struggle with unskilled candidates
  • 89% of CFOs reported concerns of finding skilled accounting employees
  • Business and Management was the most popular degree in 2020-21, with close to 500,000 enrolling

With learndirect already providing a range of Access to Higher Education Diplomas in multiple healthcare and social care subjects, as well as business and management, learners can gain their Level 3 qualifications to secure a place on their chosen degree pathway.

Wayne Janse van Rensburg, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at learndirect, said:

“In order to present our learners with the best opportunities for academic and career growth, we need to provide qualifications of the highest regard. We’re thrilled to partner with ATHE, a world-renowned awarding body in the higher education space that will help us deliver a suite of online Diplomas designed to put our learners on the path to achieving a university degree.

“This is a landmark moment for the business, as we can now guide someone from GCSE level to a degree, supporting them throughout their entire learning journey. Moving into higher education further cements our aim to become the go-to provider of online learning. This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a fruitful partnership with ATHE, one that will ultimately benefit ambitious learners seeking success.”

Alex Birks, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at ATHE, said:

“ATHE is delighted to welcome learndirect as a significant new centre in our global portfolio.  From the outset, the team at learndirect has shown that our organisations share the same dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit.  The pace of our initial engagement and breadth of opportunities we’re exploring is truly exciting, and we look forward to the journey ahead.”

Around 5,000 fewer students aged 18 were accepted into their first-choice university this August, according to UCAS, suggesting a high competitiveness for places.

By providing an online pathway to university, learndirect’s alternative route gives a solution to those who don’t want to go through the anxious wait on results day, as their third year at a partnered university is guaranteed upon completion of Levels 4 and 5.

learndirect’s partnership with ATHE follows a period of growth for the online education business, which boasts a range of brands, including The Training Room, SmileWisdom, LEAP Academy, i-to-i, and Animal Courses Direct, under its umbrella.

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