In the past few years, there has been a proliferation of employability and skills awards across higher education in the United Kingdom (AGCAS, 2011). These schemes have generally been developed by careers services in response to national policy agendas on improving graduate ‘success’ and enhancing graduate employability. Thus far, evaluation of employability awards has been largely restricted to measuring quantifiable employment outcomes. This article extends existing understandings of the impact of such schemes with reference to small-scale evaluation research undertaken with students on a pilot award at University of Westminster. Drawing upon qualitative data, the programme is evaluated in relation to soft outcomes (Dewson et al., 2000) including student motivations, student belonging and active learning styles, with particular reference to the experiences of non-traditional, or non A-level, entrants to higher education.