• Science

    Access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (SWAP)

  • SCQF Level

    SCQF Level 6

  • Attendance/Duration

    Full-time, one year

  • Start Date

    Aug 2022

Start Here

Access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) is part of the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP). It’s for anyone who wants to develop their academic and employability skills, including adult returners who may have been out of education for a while.

It offers direct access to a range of college and university courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics after one year of study. While on the course, you’ll develop your knowledge of various STEM subjects and increase your confidence too.

Ayrshire College is an ideal choice for studying STEM:

  • We have STEM Assured Status which means we have been recognised for the quality of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses.
  • We’re an educational partner of Glasgow Science Centre.
  • We won Training Partner of the Year at the prestigious SEMTA (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) Skills Awards in 2017.
  • We’ve invested in our equipment, so you’ll be learning using the latest industry standard technology.

For entry to this course you don’t need any formal qualifications, just an interview with us.


Teaching Qualifications

It is possible to enter into the teaching profession for Secondary Mathematics, Physics or Technology by completing the SWAP Access to STEM course. There are several universities delivering teaching qualifications that accept this course as meeting the entry requirements, if this is your intention please discuss this at interview.

What's Involved

This course is mainly units from Higher Chemistry, Higher Physics and Higher Maths, with some supporting subjects to help you prepare for a future career in STEM. It also offers a significant practical element, so expect plenty of ‘hands on’ experience in the lab.

You’ll develop your skills in ICT and communication.

In Chemistry, you’ll focus on three main topics:

  • Chemical Changes and Structure (reaction rates; atomic structure and bonding; formulae and reaction quantities; acids and bases)
  • Nature’s Chemistry (food and everyday products such as soaps, detergents and skincare)
  • Chemistry in Society (industrial production of products)

In Physics, you’ll look at four:

  • Electricity, including electrical storage and transfer
  • Our Dynamic Universe (kinematics, dynamics and space-time)
  • Particles and Waves
  • Researching Physics (practical investigation)

You’ll build transferable Essential Skills in meaningful contexts to help you become more effective in life, learning, and work. This could be communication, numeracy, ICT, working with others, and problem solving.

Go Anywhere

When you have completed this course, you will meet the entry requirements for 114 different university courses in various disciplines including teaching. These courses are run at Glasgow Caledonian University, Stirling University, Strathclyde University, University of Glasgow and University of the West of Scotland.


Example BEng and BSc courses include:



Aero-Mechanical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering


Naval Architecture

Sports Engineering


Audio Technology

Computer Science

Environmental Science



Music Technology


Software Engineering

Teaching/Education Options:

BA Education (Primary)

BTec Education

Education (Secondary) Computing Science, Environmental Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Technologies

Successful completion of the SWAP Access to STEM course also meets the entry requirements for the Engineering Academy.

You will also be eligible to apply for the:

HNC Mechanical Engineering (Progression to Glasgow University route)

HNC Applied Science (Progression to Glasgow University route)

Places available



Start Date

Aug 2022

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