For more than ten years, an entry pathway to Higher Education has opened up opportunities for communities where participation is traditionally lower, enabling more than 500 students to pursue undergraduate courses.
The Access Foundation Programme (AFP) is a one-year, full-time course offered by TU Dublin that prepares participants to pursue Higher Education opportunities. Since 2010, 500 graduates have taken up undergraduate courses across a range of disciplines offered at TU Dublin with many continuing their education and completing Postgraduate and PhD programmes.
Nicole Bennett, who graduated from TU Dublin in 2016, explains how her journey has taken her to the London School of Economics where she will study for a Masters in Social Research Methods. “I was burned out working jobs that were personally unfulfilling to me. I also felt my chances for advancement were severely hampered by my lack of formal education. I wanted to study an undergraduate degree but knew I did not possess the academic skills that would enable me to be successful. That is when I came across the Access Foundation Programme during my search for college courses.”
Speaking about her experience at TU Dublin, Nicole said, “The programme left such an impression on me that I have been recommending it to people for the entirety of my degree in Sociology and Social Policy which I completed in Trinity College Dublin. Without the Access Foundation Programme and its excellent teaching staff, I would never have had any of these opportunities. I would still be working jobs I hated. The lecturing staff showed me what I was capable of once I applied myself to a task. The skills I have now are priceless, my future looks brighter, and I feel fulfilled by what I am studying.”
Johanna King, Coordinator of the Access Foundation Programme at TU Dublin, says the initiative forms an essential part of the University’s commitment to extending access to education to people from communities, which lack a strong tradition of participation in third-level education. “The course is of particular benefit to adults who have been out of education for a long time, or who did not complete a Leaving Certificate. In addition, we welcome applications from people whose skills are no longer in high demand in the labour market."
Continuing Ms King says, “Students take six compulsory modules and two optional modules each semester where they develop the skills needed to undertake an undergraduate qualification, learn how to research and write academic work, and improve their communication and information technology skills. Students who successfully complete the programme are offered a place on an undergraduate course at TU Dublin. AFP graduates can make up as many as 1 in 5 of the mature students enrolling on undergraduate programmes at TU Dublin, providing a strong support network.”
There are two deadlines to apply for the Access Foundation Programme, the first is Friday, 21 August 2020 while there is a final deadline of Friday, 18 September 2020 to allow applications from school-leavers that may not have received a CAO offer.
Prospective applicants can find more information about the Access Foundation Programme on TU Dublin’s website.