Foundation degrees are about progress and potential. More than 50,000 people study them - and the Government wants to double this number by 2010. Designed with the help of employers and provided by colleges and universities across the country, these two-year degrees are particularly popular with people in work. They appeal to those who might not otherwise have the time or the funds or the flexibility to acquire higher education. They help people to tap their true potential.
Some of the best college provision can be found on foundation degree courses. Colleges from Canterbury to Newcastle work alongside employers as diverse as the Ford Motor Company, the Royal Navy, the NHS and the Thistle Hotel Group to design and deliver training that leads to a respected qualification and, for many, a stepping stone to the final year of an honours degree. From forensic science to viniculture, from software development to air traffic control, foundation degrees are forging the skills needed for the UK economy in the 21st century.
For students like Heather Brand, a BT service operations manager, a foundation degree at City of Sunderland College is the most flexible route to gaining the skills she needs to progress in her career. "It sometimes feels that the course has been designed for me because it is so applicable to my work," she says. Mohammed Sharif, a community cardiac worker, says that the health and social care foundation degree he studied at Bradford College is the best way for a mature student like him, who had not sat A-levels and who works full-time, to step up to higher education. …