Building mental resilience in Access to HE learners

Retention of learners is a key issue for Access to Higher Education (HE) providers and can have a big impact on achievement and success rates, as well as funding.

Gateway Qualifications worked with our approved providers to conduct a deep and wide-ranging investigation into achievement and retention rates to establish the key factors that impact learners and continuing with their chosen Access to HE Diploma.

This investigation revealed that learners’ health issues, and predominantly mental health issues, was the leading negative impact factor on retention rates.

Alongside mental and physical health challenges, childcare issues and increased work commitments are the most common reasons for learners withdrawing from their Access to HE courses and this undoubtedly impacts provider retention and achievement rates.

As a result of this finding and the increase in mental health issues that Access to HE learners face, Gateway Qualifications worked with a leading mental health charity to develop a new unit in Promoting Wellbeing and Building Resilience.

This new, ungraded unit has been introduced to all of our Access to HE Diplomas to enable our providers to support their learners considering an Access to HE Diploma.

The Promoting Wellbeing and Building Resilience unit is aimed at learners that are returning to education and who can often be juggling busy work and family lives and all the pressures that this brings when combined with the demands of their studies.

The unit is intended to develop learners’ understanding of wellbeing and ways to build resilience to cope with the pressures in their study as well as other factors both during their Access to HE course and when they progress to higher education.

When delivered early on within the course, the unit will help learners to recognise when they are experiencing issues with mental wellbeing, where they can seek help and the strategies that they can use in order to reduce the impact that stresses may have on their studies and home life.

If learners are able to read the signs early on, and take action to reduce their impact on their studies, they will be better prepared to cope with deadlines, family and work life, and therefore enable them to continue with their Access to HE Diploma rather than withdrawing from the course mid-way. This will improve retention rates for providers as well as allowing learners to realise their ambitions for higher education and changing their life direction.



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