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Outdoor Adventure- Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma at Plumpton College

Course description

The outdoor adventure/education industry is a rapidly developing sector providing increasing variety and opportunities to successful students.

These include positions in outdoor centres as activity instructors, expedition leaders/support staff, teaching roles and specialist adventure sport coaches.

Located in the centre of a National Park and making full use of the extensive College estate, the South Downs, the College Water Sports Academy and College outdoor centre in Snowdonia, this comprehensive one year course covers a wide range of specialist subject areas, leading to the development of organisational and leadership skills alongside practical skills in a range of land and water based activities.

This makes the course ideally suited to individuals who have an interest or aptitude for adventure sport. Jobs in the outdoor sector require the ability to work with, and relate to, a diverse range of people in a variety of formal and informal situations. A high level of self-motivation linked to sound organisational skills is essential to developing a successful career. Students will need to demonstrate a keen interest in developing both their own technical skills and those of others.

Although it is not necessary to have a high level of fitness, students will be required to undertake a range of physical activity in order to meet the course requirements.

Additional Qualifications

There will be opportunities throughout the year to study additional qualifications that relate to the Outdoor Education Sector. These may include:

  • NNAS (National Navigation Award Scheme)
  • BMC (British Mountaineering Council)NICAS (National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme)
  • RYA (Royal Yachting Association)
  • BCU (British Canoe Union)
  • Appropriate first aid qualifications
  • College award, functional skills or GCSEs in English and Maths

Course content

Indicative Programme Content

The programme is made up of 7 units – 1 core unit and 6 specialist units. All students must complete the 7 units to complete the course.

Core Units
  • Fitness testing and training
Specialist Units
  • Principles & Practices in Outdoor Adventure
  • The Physiology of Fitness
  • Outdoor and adventurous activities
  • Assessing Risk in Sport
  • Principles of Anatomy and Physiology in Sport
  • Sports Coaching
  • English & maths
  • Skills for land & Water based Outdoor Adventurous Activities
Indicative Programme Content - Diploma (two years)

The course is made up of 13 units. These units are based on a modular system allowing for flexibility of Work Experience opportunities. Over two years students will study the following units:

Core Units
  • Principles of anatomy and physiology in sport
  • The physiology of fitness
  • Assessing risk in sport
  • Fitness training and programming
  • Leadership in sport
  • Principles and practices in outdoor adventure
  • Equipment and facilities for outdoor and adventurous activities
Specialist Units (two years)
  • Sports coaching
  • Organising Sports Events
  • Physical education and the care of children and young people
  • Fitness Training & Programming
  • Leadership in Sport
  • Equipment & Facilities for Outdoor Adventurous Activities
  • Outdoor Adventurous Expeditions
  • Organising Sports Events
  • Work Experience in Sport
  • English & maths

In addition to the units above additional units also include:

  • Leading land and Water based Outdoor Adventurous Activities
  • Sport as a business
  • Physical Education and care of Children and Young people
  • Environmental Education for Outdoor Adventure
  • Alternative pursuits for Outdoor Adventure


Entry requirements

  • 4 GCSE passes, including English and Mathematics at grade C or above,
  • An Intermediate GNVQ in a related subject plus 2 GCSEs including English & Maths
  • A Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in a related subject at Merit level or above plus 2 GCSEs including English & Maths at C or above
  • To progress from Subsidiary Diploma to Diploma or Extended Diploma, students must achieve a merit grade at Subsidiary Diploma and be recommended by their tutor for progression.
  • Mature students who do not possess any of the above qualifications will be considered individually.

Future opportunities

Future Opportunities

Following successful completion of the Subsidiary Diploma, students may progress onto the Extended Diploma or pursue a career in the Outdoor/Adventure Education industry.

Those students who wish to further pursue their National Governing Body awards with Plumpton College can progress directly on the Instructor Training Course (details on application).

Following completion of the Diplomas, students may progress onto Higher Education courses or pursue a career in the Outdoor/Adventure Education industry.

Successful completion of the Level 3 Diploma can generate a maximum of 280 UCAS points, whilst successful completion of the Level 3 Extended Diploma can generate a maximum of 420 UCAS points.

Further information

Course Duration:

  • Subsidiary Diploma - One year full time - 3 days per week
  • Diploma - Two years full time - 3 days per week
  • Extended Diploma - Two years
  • Full time - 3 to 4 days per week

Whether exploring on land as part of our fantastic 800-hectare estate, climbing our indoor climbing wall or even taking part in activities in the water, we’ve got outstanding facilities at Plumpton College and our other excellent Out Centres for you to experience and enjoy.

  • On land – the perfect environment to base your studies

Our extensive Plumpton estate is the ideal place for you to experience all of our outdoor activities, all with the beautiful backdrop of the South Downs.

  • Take to the water with our excellent choice of watersports

Discover all of our sailing and water-sports activities at our excellent academy at Piddinghoe Lake. We’ve also got other inland and coastal locations.

  • So many sports for you to discover and enjoy

Whether you play on land or in the water, we’ve got excellent facilities at Plumpton, including our large sports field and two outdoor hard-surface tennis courts. 

  • An excellent residential centre in beautiful North Wales

Lots of outdoors excitement to be had at our residential centre at Plumpton at Snowdonia. Think mountaineering, mountain biking and multi-pitch climbing just as a starter…

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 13 October 2017
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    • The main Plumpton College site is located at the foot of the picturesque South Downs National Park. Six miles from Lewes, the County Town of East Sussex.

      The College specialises in providing a wide range of land-based courses in partnership with schools, for those in further education and for those in higher education. The College degree courses are validated by the University of Brighton.

      The range of courses cover all land-based provision including Agriculture, Horticulture, Floristry, Equine, Agricultural and Horticultural Machinery, Metalsmithing, Animal Care, Countryside Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Sports (Outdoor Adventure) and Wine and Viticulture.