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Outdoor Adventure (Level 3) (Extended Diploma)

This study programme is ideal if you wish to build upon your knowledge to develop a career in the exciting and developing outdoor industry. Being equivalent to three A-Levels, the BTEC Level 3 qualification is recognised by universities, so you can go on to study subjects such as sports management, outdoor adventure, outdoor education, teaching, leisure and tourism and public services. This 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 the outdoor adventure industry. You will study a wide range of units associated with coaching, leadership and skills development.


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 I 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 ideally including English and maths 
  • Outdoor Adventure or Sport at Level 2

Course content

  • Subject units:
    • Principles of anatomy and physiology in sport
    • Physiology of fitness
    • Assessing risk in sport
    • Fitness training and programming
    • Principles and practices in outdoor adventure
    • Skills for land-based outdoor and adventurous activities
    • Skills for water-based outdoor and adventurous activities
    • Outdoor and adventurous expeditions
    • Leadership in sport
    • Organising sports events
    • Equipment and facilities for outdoor and adventurous activities
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Personal development skills, study skills and employability skills 
  • Additional vocational learning and qualifications: 
    • During the summer term of your first year 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 go on practical days away. As well as the chance to improve or learn new practical skills, these are often employment-focused and as well as winter sports trips, include outdoor residential trips to Wales and the Isle of Wight.
    • 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 written essays, presentations, group discussion, practical observation and poster production. Functional Skills/GCSEs will be assessed through formal exams.


Sport (Outdoor Adventure) BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma

  • 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 College. 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 and educate others.

Additional information

To take part in this course there will be an additional fee for clothing such as wetsuits, costing approximately £200, Trips throughout the year £400 and NGB qualifications approximately £200 (optional).

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 mangers and other leading outdoor professionals. We have also organised charity events at our Shuttleworth Activity Centre, raising money for environmental projects with National Park Rangers in the Peak District.

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

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 13/09/2021 Launch our fee calculatorFree if 16-18yrs. Are you 19+?
Launch our fee calculator
Shuttleworth College SOB414

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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.