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Through route from access course to PhD

Students and employers in Stafford are offered courses from access level right through to a PhD thanks to highly developed further and higher education links.

Stafford College's long-established links with the University of Wolverhampton have evolved to include a wide-ranging portfolio of courses in the hospitality and licensed industries.

Stafford offers entry-level vocational courses which can lead to GNVQs or three-year sandwich HND courses which can then be topped up to a full degree with an extra year's study at Wolverhampton.

This model echoes the two-plus-two courses expected to be a key feature of Sir Ron Dearing's recommendations on the future of the university system. The agreement with academics at Wolverhampton allows courses to be flexible - moving between full and part-time study, or even allowing further or higher-level courses delivered in the workplace.

The links have extended to computing and engineering courses at Stafford, where the college runs foundation-level year zero programmes designed to give students an entry to a degree course.

Staff see high demand for such courses, designed for adults returning to education for the first time. but they are also developing them as conversion programmes, to allow A-level candidates to change tack, despite an awkward choice of subjects.

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