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Outdoor Adventure Advanced (Level 3) (Extended Diploma)

This advanced study programme is ideal if you wish to build upon your knowledge and skills to develop a career in the exciting and developing outdoor adventure sector . Being equivalent to three A-Levels, the BTEC Level 3 qualification is recognised by universities, so you can go on to HE to study subjects such as, outdoor leadership, outdoor education, coaching, teaching, leisure and tourism. This two year study programme offers a fantastic combination of theory and vocational training and is ideal if you are looking for a practical course with excellent career prospects. The study programme is designed to give students detailed knowledge and practical skills for working in the outdoor adventure sector. You will study a wide range of units, focused around instructing, safety, research projects and sustainable use of the outdoors.  There is the opportunity to achieve professional accreditation with the Institute for Outdoor Learning, as well as National Governing Body qualifications.


I wanted to come to college to experience new things and learn new life skills. I think if I had stayed at school and gone through sixth form, I wouldn’t have been at the point I am now. I am a much more confident person and am looking forward to going on to university after College to study Paramedic Science.

I enjoy every aspect of the study programme, particularly the sailing. I’ve been in the Scouts for 13 years, so I’m very used to the great outdoors, but hadn’t sailed before so I took it up in the summer before starting College. I have now had the opportunity to develop these skills in a wide variety of locations and craft types including high performance dinghies. I also really enjoyed the environmental sustainability trip where we got involved in planting trees.

My tutors are all lovely and very encouraging. I’m looking forward to my work experience placement at PGL on the Isle of Wight this summer.

Next year I will start on the Paramedic Science course at the University of Bedfordshire. Even before coming to College I knew I wanted to work with the Air Ambulance Search & Rescue team. I’ll be a qualified Paramedic after three years and then will need to undertake further training to get into air rescue.

People thought I should have gone down the A-Level route in order to pursue this career path, but this study programme also involves Anatomy and Physiology units and I have been able to successfully gain a place at university through the knowledge and experience it has given me.

Emma - Outdoor Adventure Level 3

Entry requirements

To begin this study programme you will need... 

Duration: 2 Years
  • 4 GCSEs at grades 9-4 or A*-C ideally including English and maths 
  • Outdoor Adventure or Sport Level 2 Diploma with Functional Skills 

You will also need a keen interest in outdoor related pursuits.

Course content

  • Subject units:
    • Careers in the Outdoor Sector
    • Health, Wellbeing and Sport
    • Personal Skills Development in Outdoor Activities
    • Applied Leadership and Instructing in Outdoor Activities
    • Research Projects
    • Health and Safety
    • Outdoor Activity Provision
    • Impacts and Sustainable Approaches in Outdoor Activities
    • Expedition Experience
    • Ethical and Current Issues
    • Organising events
    • Influence of technology
    • Facility Operations
  • English and maths: 
If you don't already have GCSE English and maths grade A*-C, we will work with you to help you develop your maths and English skills. If you have already achieved this grade you will undertake further support in developing English and maths skills.
  • Work experience: 
In your first year, you will undertake practical work experience at the Shuttleworth Activity Centre. During the second year you will complete an extended work placement in an outdoor centre or related organisation either locally, nationally or abroad. Each year you will attend a Work Placement and Careers event at Shuttleworth College meeting employers from a range of outdoor activity centres and universities.
  • Personal development skills, study skills and employability skills 
  • Additional vocational learning and qualifications: 

During the course you will have the opportunity to undertake a group expedition and will be required to attend various residential trips. Throughout both years there will also be various day trips and opportunities to visit various outdoor centres. The trips and experiences give opportunities to improve or learn new practical skills. All trips and experiences are employment-focused with unique insights into the opportunities that working in the outdoor adventure sector provides. There will be optional overseas residential trips to develop skills in activities such as snowboarding, skiing, climbing and yachting. As part of your studies you will also be able to take additional qualifications in:

  • Sailing
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Power Boating
  • Climbing
  • First Aid at Work 

The study programme will be based primarily at the Shuttleworth Campus, however other venues used include Grafham Water Sports Centre, Big Rock Climbing Centre and further afield locations such as the Peak District and Snowdonia.

Assessment methods

All BTEC work will be assessed through assignments, which can consist of project work, written essays, presentations, group discussion, practical observation and poster production. Functional Skills/GCSEs will be assessed through formal exams.


Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport and Outdoor Activities

  • National Governing Body (NGB) qualifications
  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • English and maths qualifications if required

You can also gain up to 168 UCAS points. 

Further study and career options

On successful completion you could progress on to a Sport (Leisure Management) HNC here at Shuttleworth. You could also go on to university or enter employment in a range of outdoor related occupations. This qualification attracts up to 420 UCAS points towards entry onto a degree-level course but is also the perfect lead-in to jobs in the outdoor sector. Many students start their careers as outdoor instructors and work their way up to leadership roles within a few years of experience in the field. The other route that this study programme opens up is the opportunity to go on to a teacher training course to enable you to educate others.

Additional information

To take part in this course there will be additional fees for:

  • Clothing required for safely participating in water and land based activities. Costs for this are approximately £200
  • Compulsory trips throughout the year which total around £450
  • Optional overseas trips
  • Optional NGB qualifications which start at £200

As well as hosting an exclusive careers event, we have regular guest speakers throughout the year and these can include: National Park Rangers, National Governing Body representatives, exclusive interviews with Outdoor Centre Managers and other leading Outdoor Professionals. We have also organised charity events at Shuttleworth College and through our Shuttleworth Activity Centre, raising money for charitable organisations.

If commuting to Shuttleworth College will be difficult for you, then you can choose to live in our halls of residence on campus. Priority is given to those who live the furthest distance from the College so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. Visit our accommodation page for more information.

Funding information

All full-time Level 1 and Level 2 courses are now FREE for everyone, whatever their age. If you are looking to study a Level 3 qualification, courses are still free if you’re under 19 or 19-23 and studying your first full Level 3 qualification. If you’re over 23 or studying a second Level 3 qualification, you will need to pay a fee. Find out more on our financial support page at

If you are aged 19 or over you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to help you pay the tuition fees for this course. Find out more at You can also pay by instalments to help make the cost of this course more affordable.

Course Information & How to Apply

Although the government has announced that exams will not be going ahead this summer, we are committed to ensuring that all students who apply to join us this year will be able to do so. We therefore want to reassure you that you have nothing to worry about with regards to applying for one of our programmes starting in September 2020. We  are committed to ensuring that the challenges of the current situation will not prevent our future students from achieving their full potential, we are with you every step of the way. To apply online, select the 'Apply' button below. You will need to register an account and then you can follow the instructions on screen

LengthStart DateFees per yearLocationCourse Code
2 years 14/09/2020 Launch our fee calculatorFree if 16-18yrs. Are you 19+?
Launch our fee calculator
Shuttleworth College SOB414

Apply Online


Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.
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