• Preparing For Your Course

Uniformed Public Services

Congratulations on starting your application for a Public Services course (including Armed Forces Preparation) at South Devon College! We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and provide you with some additional information, helping you confirm you have made the right course and career choice. 

We are passionate about helping our students, not only to achieve their academic and career goals, but also to grow as people. At the end of the course you will receive a qualification – but it’s not just about that piece of paper! We are just as invested in helping you develop the skills and knowledge required to gain and excel in employment. Teamwork, Leadership, Citizenship, Diversity, Health and Fitness are units of study on our courses, and all are essential to gain successful employment. In addition to the course curriculum, we also embed our own core values of Reliability, Responsibility, Respect and Resilience.

What will I be doing on my course?

Public Services courses are among one of the most diverse and demanding courses the College has to offer, and will include activities such as; physical fitness, developing academic skills, teamwork, volunteering, visits to public services units (military and emergency), leadership, taking part in disaster exercises, outdoor activities, outdoor expeditions and military exercises.

What are we up to?

To keep up to date with what our current students are doing, check out our Public Service Facebook Page. Remember to like the page to ensure you get updates! You can also take a look at our highlights here.

The Application Process 

The Helpzone Team will be in contact with you very soon, if they have not already, regarding your journey through the application process which usually consists of: 

Open Events Come and meet the staff team, current students, find out what we have to offer and the courses we deliver. Check the events section of the website for up-to-date information on the next events.
Welcome Sessions This is a more personal conversation during which we will answer all those questions that have arisen since we met at an Open Event/Evening and recommend which of our courses will be most appropriate for you at this time. These will be taking place over the phone during the COVID-19 emergency.
My Night This is a fun night where you will explore the College and discover what college life can be like. (The 2020 date is currently postponed).
My Course A taster event, giving you an example of the kinds of activities and experiences, you can expect from your chosen course. (The 2020 date is currently postponed).
Enrolment This is where you bring in your GCSE results and are enrolled on to the most appropriate course for you. For 2020/21 intake, please do not worry about your GCSE results. We appreciate the unique circumstances of this year.  Bring what you have and we can talk about which course is really the right one for you.



All Uniformed Public Services careers have physical fitness entry requirements and as such physical fitness plays an important part in our curriculum. You do not have to be an athlete to be a public service student, but anything you can do to improve your fitness prior to starting the course will be beneficial to you. You do not have to join a gym to develop your fitness, just get out and run. There are many apps available to help you improve and record your fitness. We have found Couch to 5k particularly useful in gently building fitness. Doing physical exercise twice or three times a week will help you be in a much better place to pass the fitness tests, for the career service of your choice. 

Current Affairs

Read/watch the news. It is important to be aware of current affairs. Where in the world are there national tensions which might affect British interests? Which military service has been deployed to support a country suffering a natural disaster? What do the recent funding challenges mean in real terms to your local hospital? What law has recently been introduced and how are the Police responding to this? What impact are hoax 999 calls to the Fire and Rescue Service having on local response times? How does the government influence the responsibilities of the local Police Officers? It’s important to understand how your specific job role fits in to the much bigger Public Services picture. 

Career Choices

With so many different roles available within the Public Services/Public Sector it will be beneficial for you to conduct some research in to the sorts of jobs that are appropriate to you. We would urge you to explore some of the more than 100 roles the Army has to offer, the more than 100 the Royal Navy has and more than 60 the Royal Air Force have. The Police and Fire and Rescue Services also have many more roles available than the ones traditionally associated with these services. Take some time to explore the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Coast Guard, Border Force, Customs and Excise and Prison Service etc.

You should also consider looking beyond any preconceived ideas of what the Public Services are. There are many interesting and exciting roles available within the Public Sector which do not require you to wear a uniform but are equally important to the safety and security of your community. 

Boot Camp

All Public Services students will take part in a four-day Boot Camp experience in the first week of your course. Boot Camp offers students and staff the opportunity to get to know each other quickly, to help students confirm they have made the right course choice and install the four Rs (Reliability, Responsibility, Respect and Resilience) from the very beginning. This could sound daunting, but please be assured, everyone is very capable of completing Boot Camp.

Current students described their experience at Boot Camp as, “It was really good, would 100% do it again.” “The biggest thing that I gained from boot camp was my self-confidence and learning from others.” “Although it was physically demanding, it still has to be one of the best experiences I have done. I would recommend this course to anyone” “On the first day I didn’t like it, by the last day I didn’t want to leave.” “I loved it! Definitely encouraged me and boosted my confidence up.” 

Term Dates for 2019-20

Your academic success and the personal and professional achievements gained at College are directly linked to your course attendance. Every lesson missed is learning missed, and learning is impossible to gain after the lesson. To assist you in your preparations for your course I have provided you with the term dates for next year. Please don’t book holidays in term time, it will have an impact on your learning.

Autumn Term
14th September 2020 – 23rd October 2020 Term One
26th October 2020 – 30th October 2020 Half Term Break
2nd November 2020 – 22nd December 2020 Term One Continued
23rd December 2020 – 4th January 2020 Christmas Break
Spring Term
5th January 2021 – 12th February 2021 Term Two
15th February 2021 – 19th February 2021 Half Term Break
22nd February 2021 – 1st April 2021 Term Two Continued
2nd April 2021 – 16th April 2021 Easter Break
Summer Term
19th April 2021 – 28th May 2021 Term Three
31st May 2021 – 4th June 2021 Half Term Break
7th June 2021 – 2nd July 2021 Term Three Continued

A detailed updated academic calendar can be found here. 

I hope the information we have provided you here has been helpful, and you are even more excited to be joining your course. Please feel free to use the contact details below to ask any further questions you may have regarding the course you will be starting in September or the application process. 

If you have had this page shared with you and have not applied yet, or if you are not sure if you have applied, please complete this online application form to ensure you have started your journey on to a Public Service course at South Devon College.

Contact Details

Application Questions

Please call our Helpzone team on 08000 380 123.  Alternatively you can email enquiries@southdevon.ac.uk.  

Curriculum Questions

Please call the Public Services staff office on 01803 540328 or email publicservices@southdevon.ac.uk. Alternatively, you can call the Public Services Administrators Office on 01803 540455.

Meet The Team

Click here to meet the Uniformed Public Services team and check out their experience, interests and qualifications!

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