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Outdoor Adventure Advanced (Level 3) (Specialist 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 sector. This two year Level 3 study programme is the equivalent of two A-Levels with a focus on developing detailed knowledge and practical skills for working in the outdoor adventure sector. The study programme will provide you with a fantastic combination of theory and vocational training: it’s a full-time study option, and is ideal if you are looking for a practical course with excellent career prospects. You will study a wide range of units associated with coaching, leadership and practical skills development. There is the opportunity to achieve professional accreditation with the Institute for Outdoor Learning, as well as National Governing Body qualifications.

sam gale

Before attending the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (Isle of Wight 2nd Year Residential) a lot of students that had little to no interest in sailing were apprehensive to how the week was going to go, some even felt as if they had wasted their money. That notion changed very quickly as the first day of activities played out. 

Throughout the week I heard everybody explaining their excitement for certain activities or explaining their overwhelming enthusiasm for the activities they’ve completed that day. My personal experience was a little different, after word of mouth of the last years trip, I had the assumption that the sailing was going to be hands on, adrenaline pumped and fast however this was not the case. The week was a lot more laid back and the instructing staff were amazing making what seemed extremely difficult quite easy. 

Sailing on the yacht was inspirational and has changed my life completely as after the experience I knew that I wanted to go into yacht sailing. We stayed on the yacht overnight which gave us an introduction to what sleeping aboard was like, granted it was on the dock but the experience was still there. Hearing the wind, feeling the tide and sleeping in a small space with a leecloth which is a sheet of material that stops you falling out of the bed in the night (or day depending on which watch you are on.) At the end of the week we were given a talk about the sailing industry which has opened my eyes to the cadetship and broadened my career path. Amazing trip, amazing people, amazing experience, amazing end to the course.

Sam- Outdoor Adventure Advanced Level 3 (Specialist Diploma)

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • 4 GCSEs 9–4 or A*–C including English and maths OR
  • Level 2 BTEC Diploma in Sport with Functional Skills

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

Course content

During the course you will study a number of units, including:

  • 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
  • Expedition Experience
  • GCSEs or Functional Skills in English and Maths (if required).

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. 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. Throughout both years there will also be various day trips and opportunities to go on practical days away. 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. As part of your studies you will also be able to take additional qualifications in sailing, power boating, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, bushcraft,climbing and an emergency first aid at work course.

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

Assessment methods

All BTEC work will be assessed through assignments, which can consist of written essays, presentations, group discussion, practical observation and academic posters. 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 112 UCAS points.
Further study and career options

On successful completion you could progress either onto employment or onto our Sport (Leisure Management) HNC. This course is 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. 

Additional information

To take part in this study programme 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 our 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 SOB1236

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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.
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