NESCol joins scheme helping adults access university

North East Scotland College has joined the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) which supports adults with few or no formal qualifications who want to access degree courses in a variety of subjects.  The scheme offers full-time one-year access programmes via colleges for anyone who would like to gain advanced qualifications at college or university having been out of the education system for a few years or longer.   

North East Scotland College will be offering four exciting new SWAP courses from August 2018. The programmes, which are designed to provide a supportive environment for adults returning to education, are available in these areas:

To be eligible, applicants must not already hold a university degree and meet one of these criteria:

·         No qualifications above SCQF level 5 (Standard Grade/Intermediate 2, GCSE, National 5) and been out of full-time education for 3 years of more.

·         Qualifications at SCQF level 6 or above (Highers, A Levels, HN) and have been out of full-time education for 5 years or more.

Applicants must also be willing to commit to studying at college on a full-time basis (around 18-20 hrs per week) and be keen to progress to university or HNC/D level study. 

Most SWAP students are entitled to have tuition fees paid for their SWAP programme and are entitled to a college bursary to help with living costs.

John Davidson, Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality at North East Scotland College, said, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting initiative which helps adult returners gain the confidence and the qualifications to continue their education at Higher level. The Access programmes currently available across Scotland have an excellent success rate with 92 per cent of those completing their course going on to higher education – whether at university or college. We are hoping our first four courses commencing in August attract a lot of interest which will allow us to expand the programme in the future.”

Lesley Dunbar, Director of Scottish Wider Access Programme East, said “SWAP is absolutely delighted that NESCol has become a SWAP partner and thrilled that the college is adding SWAP access programmes to their curriculum. These programmes are specifically designed to support an adult who may have few formal qualifications but has the potential to move on into higher education. This development means that adults in the north-east of Scotland, who have been out of education for a while, will now have these SWAP access routes available more locally. Last year, over 900 SWAP students who undertook an access programme gained a place at university. Every university in Scotland gives places to SWAP students and values the commitment that is shown by them during their studies. I am very much looking forward to working with NESCol and to meeting the first intake of SWAP students in the autumn.” 

Applications for places on the scheme should be made via the NESCol website: Please contact the College’s Student Advice Centre for more information on eligibility or other queries on tel: 01224 612330 or by email:

For more information on SWAP East visit: