Please bear with me in this question despite its length. I'm only putting so much detail in it because I want to be thorough, as this is an important subject to me.
I'll explain my situation first as to provide some context for my dilemma - I'm 19 years old, soon to be 20 in a few months, and I decided last year that I wasn't ready for university for a number of reasons. The most prominent of these were a fear of falling into debt, not being able to support myself while there and also not being sure of what career path I wanted to pursue. In light of that, I decided to apply for an apprenticeship at a fairly prestigious but small software design company in the field of Business Intelligence. I got the job (and am on the way to completing the level 4 diploma in "Information Technology, Programming and Networking) and will be employed until 21, when my contract ends. Over that period of time I'll be able to save up a fairly substantial amount of money (for me),
I'm convinced now that I want to apply to a few of the top universities in the UK for Computer Science once my contract is over, but my A-level results aren't quite up to scratch for these. For reference, I have an A, B and a C in Computer Science/Psychology/Music Technology, respectively. What I needed was three A's. The universities I have in mind are Birmingham, Bath, the Imperial College of London, and Oxford and Cambridge - just on the off-chance I somehow get in or attain the necessary qualifications. The exact course that I've looked at is a five-year long MSci in Computer Science with a year of industry work/study abroad.
As a mature student though, I understand that I'll be subject to different entry requirements. One of these is an access to higher education course, but there aren't any within 50 miles of me that I can do a relevant course in via distance learning or even just evening classes, which means I'd need to do such a course after I finish my work contract in November 2016, further extending the amount of time before I can begin a degree.
If anyone has any experience in applying to a highly ranked university - especially in the field of computer science - as a mature student, is there any advise that you can give me?
As an extra note, I have emailed the universities in question to ask them for their advice and what would be expected of me when it comes to applying as a mature student. I haven't heard back yet, but I only sent an email last week.