From education to employment

The importance of choosing the right Access Validating Agency (AVA)

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As a college or training provider offering Access to Higher Education Diplomas, your choice of AVA significantly impacts the learning experience you deliver and the overall success of your students.

This blog delves into what to expect from an AVA and why focusing on specific criteria benefits your institution and learners alike.

AVAs act as partners in shaping your Access to Higher Education provision. Their approach, support, and offerings can vary greatly. When selecting an AVA, keep the following considerations in mind:

Quality and reputation

There are currently nine AVAs operating across England and Wales and we all work well together through the National Access Validating Agency Group to promote the life-changing and empowering success of Access to Higher Education Diplomas. All AVAs are passionate about lifelong learning and all are keen to keep raising its profile and the hugely important part it plays in the adult learning sector.

When choosing an AVA, centres will be keen to partner with an AVA who demonstrates excellence in service. One measure of this is to look for the QAA rating (like AIM, categorised as “low risk”) – see link here to AVA profiles.

Another measure is to talk to other centres who already work with the AVA – AIM is one of the largest Access Validating Agencies in England and Wales and so has a large network of happy Access to HE customers who can share their experience with you – see here for case studies and customer feedback.

A reputable AVA with a strong track record will ensure your Access to HE Diplomas are widely recognised by universities and employers, and provides you with an assurance that your programmes adhere to high academic standards and progression routes including degrees, HNCs/HNDs and degree apprenticeship programmes.

Choice and flexibility

Each AVA offers diverse diploma titles, each with their own specialisms and strengths. Choosing the right AVA ensures you have access to diplomas that align with your learners’ academic goals and your organisations’ delivery models, whether that be classroom-based, hybrid or online.

Look for an AVA with options across various disciplines, like AIM’s portfolio of Access to HE Diplomas that have been developed by specialist subject and industry practitioners and include: social sciences, business, healthcare, engineering, green, digital and many more.

By Fabienne Bailey, Director of Business Growth, AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group

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