Public Services

BTEC Level 3 Diploma

Course code
Type of study
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This course is ideal if you want to pursue a career in the Public Services, including: the Army, Royal Navy, RAF and Royal Marines, as well as the Police, Fire, Ambulance and Prison services.

It is designed to give you a detailed understanding of work in the Public Services and the attributes you need to achieve your aims. These include: confidence, leadership, teamwork, fitness and discipline.

Among other things, you’ll learn about citizenship, diversity, government, first aid and self-defence. You’ll also be able to undertake placements with the National Citizenship Scheme and Combined Cadet Force, as well as self-organised volunteering and Duke of Edinburgh opportunities.

In addition, you’ll benefit from fieldtrips to places that include Parliament, the Imperial War Museum and Fort Purbrook.

A minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, including Mathematics or English Language at grade 4 or above and preferably Science.

If you are re-applying to South Downs College, you must have completed an appropriate Level 2 Diploma, with a Distinction profile and a good report from your tutor.

On this course you will study a range of theory and practical units with relevance to the skills required by uniformed and non-uniformed public service personnel.

Core units that will be studied over the two years are:

  • Government policies
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Citizenship and diversity
  • Understanding discipline

Most learning will be classroom based. However, there is a practical emphasis on many units.

External visits, professional speakers and opportunities to interact with sections of the Public Services are incorporated, when available.


There will normally be one to four pieces of coursework (written or practical) for each unit.

Each unit is awarded either a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade. The certificate will be graded overall, depending on individual unit results.

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My courses were all especially interesting, I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. All of my lecturers were extremely knowledgeable and I have learnt a lot from them.

Lottie Warren, A Level student

My time at South Downs was definitely life changing, I have learnt a lot of new skills, and obviously it’s a completely new experience. The support was great, there was always people there to help and try make it as easy as they can for you. South Downs is really fantastic, it has helped me on the way to get to what I want to achieve within my career goals.

Erin Morgan, BTEC student

The tutors were really supportive and it was all thanks to them that I have achieved what I have. I’ve also made loads of great friends and really enjoyed my time at South Downs College.

Lizaveta Sinkerich, A Level student


This course does not guarantee entry into any public service careers. All applicants will still need to complete the normal entry procedures, in competition with applicants from other backgrounds. However, this course will give you a good understanding of your chosen service, and develop the skills and knowledge needed for a strong application.

From here, you can apply directly to university. For example, South Downs College runs a HND Higher National Diploma in Public Services. A wide range of other degrees are available in areas such as Social Studies, Law, Leisure, Sport, Criminology, Forensics and more.

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