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This study programme is designed for 16 to 19 year olds (aged 19 to 24 for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan).

All courses take place on our Sixth Form Campus, therefore any applicants aged 25+ or over who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan may be required to complete a DBS check as part of the conditional offer to West Suffolk College. The cost to the applicant for a DBS is £30.00 and the DBS check can be completed through the college.

Please visit our Adult EducationDegrees and Employer section for alternative courses.

About the course

This is a vocational course aiming to introduce learners to the key areas relating to the uniformed public services. The course covers a variety of public services and students will have the opportunity to investigate the skills required to work within the sector.

Students will have an opportunity to participate in a number of residential activities to develop team work and practical skills. The course fee covers these additionalities along with uniform, selected day trips and any travel costs linked with team games, residentials and guest speakers. This payment is paid at enrolment and is non-refundable. Where possible, support funds may be available to help assist in paying towards these fees. 

Entry requirements

Entry is by interview. Candidates will need either a minimum of five GCSE passes at A* - C level in academic subjects (including mathematics and English), a Level 2 achievement or an equivalent qualification. Applicants will need to be motivated and manage their own time. Students will need to have a mature and responsible outlook, as they will be required to work with a high degree of independence for much of the course.


The College offers a wide menu of Level 3 Diplomas. We will work with all learners in their first six weeks at College to place them on the appropriate Diploma programme that best meets their individual needs and best ensures their success. Within this course, learners will have the opportunity to take either NCFE Level 3 Extended Diploma for Entry to the Uniformed Services , NCFE Level 3 Diploma for Entry to the Uniformed Services , or NCFE Level 3 Diploma for Entry to the Uniformed Services.

What you'll learn (core modules)

The course is run by a team of highly qualified staff with public services experience. Learners are expected to be in College for three days per week. Timetables for the course run between 9.15am and 5.00pm for a minimum of three days. The course will require additional study time at home which will include a minimum of 5-10 hours of study per week.


The Public Service courses are designed for anyone wishing to pursue a career in any of the following areas:

  • Police
  • Security
  • Fire
  • Armed Forces
  • Prison Service
  • Customs and Excise
  • Navy
  • Royal Marines


The course is full-time and takes two years to complete. The course consists of a number of units including:

  • Prepare for a career in a chosen uniformed service
  • Develop aspects of physical fitness for entry to the uniformed services 
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion 
  • Emergency planning and response in the uniformed services 
  • Understand the impact of war and conflict on uniformed services 
  • Outdoor and adventurous expeditions 
  • Values and standards 
  • And many more!

Any student aged 16 to 19 who does not hold a GCSE 9 to 4 or equivalent qualifications in Maths and English by age 16 will need to continue to study these subjects in each academic year.

Benefits, skills and character strengths

Students will develop are variety of skills including communication, independent learning and problem solving, teamwork, fitness, along with the college character strengths which are a focus of the classroom teaching sessions.  Student will also have an appreciation for appropriate behaviour and interpersonal skills.  Students will also be required to take part in a minimum of 40 hrs volunteer work to help develop skills, working with the local community. 

How will I be assessed?

Work is all internally assessed by a variety of methods, including practical and physical tasks, written assessments and reports, verbal presentations, and self-evaluation.  Each unit has 3-4 assessments and work is submitted via Microsoft Teams. 

Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)

The course is mainly classroom based, with at least one mandatory fitness session per week.

Where will the course take me?

Learners may progress to employment in the Uniformed Services or a number of higher education courses. Learners may choose to apply for employment in any of the following areas: police (including police community support officer), fire service, armed forces, prison service, border agency and security. 

Will I need any materials or equipment?

Learners will be required to have a sports kit, mountain walking boots and clothing. The course fee will cover a basic uniform that must be worn on programme. 

How much will it cost?

This study programme is fully funded for 16 to 19-year-olds.

I'm interested. What should I do now?

Please make an application and we will be in touch to arrange a time for you to come to college to meet the team and discuss your application further. 

Days & times

Starting September 2023

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If there is anything more you would like to know about this course, please message us here.

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