Public & Defence Services

NCFE Level 3 Diploma

policewoman standing in front of Buckingham palace

Availability & Details

Public Services, BTEC Level 3 Diploma SF-PSRV3D-D(0000)000

South Downs Campus

Type of study

Academic Year 2021-22 (2 years)

Examination board

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How to apply

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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 to enrol as a Cadet in the Combined Cadet Force, as well as self-organised volunteering and Duke of Edinburgh opportunities.

In addition, you’ll benefit from residential field trips to places such as the New Forest, Dartmoor and Wales, which will be linked to unit criteria.

Five GCSEs at grade 4 or above including Mathematics or English Language and preferably Science. If you are re-applying to College, you must have completed an appropriate Level 2 Diploma with a Distinction profile and a good report from your tutor, as well as English Language or Mathematics GCSE at grade 4.

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.

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, Havant & South Downs College runs an 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.

The teaching and support was absolutely brilliant, they couldn’t have done anything more or anything better, if I had any questions my lecturers would always stay behind to help me if I needed it and their emails were always open, it was second to none. This college is the best by far.

Amber Searle, BTEC student

I’m really happy and pleased with my grades. I really loved my time at the college, I have also made lots of friends, it’s a really nice place to be, I don’t want to leave.

Lauren Piper, A Level student

Everyone at the College was really helpful, and there’s lots of facilities, meaning it’s very easy to get your work done on time, and get good grades. The teaching and support was excellent, they were always on top of it, and made sure you got work done on time and you were challenged. Everyone is friendly and its really diverse, meaning you can get involved in lots of different things.

Conor Ward, BTEC student