Agored Cymru has an impressive pedigree in the development of Access to Higher Education courses, the Open College Network (OCN) Movement and credit in Wales. From the first 18 students to gain credits in Clwyd in 1990, over 6 million credits have been awarded to learners across Wales.
The Wales Access Forum (WAU) established in 1989 was instrumental in setting up the Access to Higher Education activity in Wales. From the beginning Access to Higher Education and OCN work developed in collaboration. By 1994 there were 3 OCN/AVAs in South West, South East and North Wales.
The South West Wales Open College and Access Consortium (SWWOCAC) was one of the OCNs that signed the original Credit Accumulation and Transfer agreement in the 1990's, a key development in the establishment of the National Open College Network (NOCN). The Open College Networks in Wales were the first to provide small steps of accredited learning to adults to support those returning to learning and have been supporting providers in developing accessible and flexible provison to widen participation since the early 1990s.
The Wales Credit and Modularisation Project (later Credis) set up in 1994 introduced unitisation to Wales ahead of England and was a significant development for the FE sector to use credit to underpin other qualifications. The OCNs undertook unit development and approval work and sat on various working groups.
The Credit and Qualifications Framework Wales (CQFW) was established in 2003 to take forward the credit brief. The vision of CQFW mirrors that of Agored Cymru – to support the development of an inclusive society, to assist in removing barriers to progression, to promote the recognition of skills to support economic growth and to offer parity of achievement for all learners.
OCN Wales was established in October 2004 with the merger of the 3 former OCNs in Wales. One of the key drivers for merger was to enable OCN to play a more effective role in national developments. OCN Wales and NOCN were original signatories to the CQFW Common Accord. OCN Wales undertook project work to test the application and development of Credit to Community Development Standards, Offender Learning and 14-19 informal and non formal learning.
OCN Wales has participated through NOCN in test and trial projects that tested the viability of the Qualifications and Credit framework.
In August 2009 OCN Wales became an Awarding Organisation in the QCF and changed its name to Agored Cymru. Agored Cymru develops qualifications that are uniquely tailored to meet the needs of learners in Wales. It continues to work in partnership with the National Open College Network, whose values and mission it shares, to offer NOCN qualifications in Wales.