Changing the face of HE with OfS and the Student Loan Company


  • Rachel McLean Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Arts, Professional & Social Studies
  • Sarah Haynes Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Arts, Professional & Social Studies
  • Abbey Davies Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Arts, Professional & Social Studies
  • Kate Sillitoe Liverpool John Moores University Graduate
  • Zoe Wallace Industry Partner



Liverpool Screen School (LSS) successfully bid to The Office for Students (OfS) short course challenge. The call invited providers to bid for funding to develop short courses at Levels 4-6 in government priority areas; courses that would help people to gain entry level knowledge, reskill or upskill as well as providing opportunities to progress to full qualifications. The project is part of the government’s pilot exploring a new student finance model designed for learners studying shorter, flexible courses in support of the development of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement. Student Loans Company are also key players in the challenge.   


LSS worked with Agent Academy (an industry partner) and a recent LSS graduate to develop a suite of short courses in the priority area of Creative and Digital. Extensive research was carried out, engaging both employers (with knowledge of skills shortages) and potential students (with knowledge of the challenges / barriers to accessing HE outside of the traditional full-time three-year model).    


Following analysis of the two data sets (employer data and target learner data), the project team followed industry design practices and agile methods to develop personas, identify the problems, frustrations, challenges and solutions to co-create the short courses. The courses will run as standalone or can be used as credit towards our BA (Hons) Media Production. Other disciplines in LJMU run short courses and Continuing Professional Development courses, however these will be funded by employers or by individuals rather than drawing on government funding schemes. This pilot will therefore inform other disciplines in the HE sector.   


This work is courageous in piloting new models of HE and funding. Through the co-creation model, working with employers and potential learners it demonstrates community. The courses developed are student focused, taking potential students’ views into the design. Finally, inclusivity is at the very heart of this project championing an alternative university experience. This work will change lives.