Each year, we recognise and celebrate the amazing achievements of Access to Higher Education learners with our prestigious Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year Awards.

Access to HE Learner of the Year Serena Bonsall

Often, Access to Higher Education learners have overcome major challenges in their life to gain qualifications and fulfil their aspirations of going onto higher education.   

Our award provides an opportunity to acknowledge and reward inspirational learners for their commitment to learning.


There are two categories:

  • Outstanding Commitment to Study

  • Outstanding Academic Achievement

The winners of the Agored Cymru awards will be entered for the national Keith Fletcher Memorial Prize. 

Nomination Process

Centres can nominate up to two learners for each category. Click here for nomination forms. Please submit your nomination forms via secure transfer and select upload type ‘Other’. Please reference Access Learner of the Year Award in the comment box.

A learner can be nominated for both categories.

Only learners completing Access to Higher Education Diplomas in the current academic year are eligible to apply.


Outstanding Commitment to Study

Learners in this category should have shown evidence of some or all of the following:

  • outstanding commitment to their studies on the Access to Higher Education Diploma, in spite of challenging personal circumstances

  • having achieved inspirational personal development that demonstrates the impact and transforming influence of learning

  • individual achievement beyond standard expectations

Supporting Statement

The statement should be an explanation of how the nominee meets the criteria in 2.2 above. It should give an indication of the types of barriers that the learner has overcome. Identify any particular skills that the learner has displayed in pursuing his/her studies. Whilst the privacy of the learner should be respected, it will help the panel of judges to assess the nomination, if some detail regarding the challenges facing the student and the way in which they met these challenges, is provided.

Supporting Evidence

Supporting evidence is not required for Outstanding Commitment to Study nominations and will not be considered by judges if submitted.

Student Statement

To aid decisions in this category, a learner statement is required as part of evidence provided within the nomination. The learner statement should be a brief overview of their experience completing the Access to Higher Education Diploma, why they chose the course and how they overcame the challenges.

Outstanding Academic Achievement

Learners proposed in this category should have excelled in their academic study by producing assessed work of a consistently outstanding standard whilst completing the Access to Higher Education Diploma.

Supporting Statement

For ‘Outstanding academic achievement’ the statement should contain sufficient commentary and detail about the range and type of work submitted by the learner and her/his performance. Where possible this could include statements made by tutors in their feedback on the work. An overall summary of the learner’s performance and achievement would also be desirable.

Supporting evidence

For ‘Outstanding academic achievement’ it is expected that the assessed work is for the unit ‘Access to Higher Education Investigative Project / Extended Essay’ HC73CY141 and that a copy of that work will be submitted in an electronic format. Scanned copies of hand written work or of word processed work with handwritten tutor comments are acceptable. Word documents of original student work and tutor feedback can be submitted.

Selection Process

Initial short-listing will be undertaken by Agored Cymru. A shortlist of up to five applicants for each award will be identified. 

These contenders for the award will be invited to attend an interview with the final selection committee.

The judges'decision will be final.

Publicity and Award of Prizes

The prizes will be awarded at a prestigious event. The event will raise the profile of Access to Higher Education with key decision makers in Wales.

The winners will be required to take part in promotional activity including photo calls and media interviews.

Case studies of the winners will be used in our marketing materials and also, on our website.