Cambridge Regional College - Centre of Vocational Excellence

What’s it like to study Level 4 HNC in Public Services at CRC?

Careers as an officer in the Royal Armoured Corps, an RAF logistics offer, a prison officer and a military firefighter are just some of the future plans of ambitious students studying higher education courses at Cambridge Regional College.

This time next year students on the Level 4 HNC in Public Services could be at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, at RAF Cranwell, undergoing specialist army training – or continuing their studies at CRC with a Level 5 HND course. Find out more about why they love studying at CRC…..

 Sam Huckle, 19

I started at CRC at Level 2, went on to Level 3 and then the level 4 HNC. I want to go on to the Level 5 and join the RAF as a military firefighter. I like the fact that the tutors have a lot of experience – they really know what they are talking about. Studying at this level means you are treated more like adults and you get a lot more responsibility, and more opportunities. We help out in lessons for younger students, and we’ve just completed a first aid at work qualification, which is all great for your CV. I have always wanted to have a job where you can help people and do something like firefighting – I couldn’t just sit at a desk all day.  

Leanne Stevens, 18

I came to an open day at CRC and talked to the UPS tutors and decided that was the course I wanted to do. I like all the extras that we get to do and the fact that it’s an active course. We have a fitness assignment at the moment so we are running fitness tests and assessing the results. We went on a hike along Hadrian’s Wall in December during some of the coldest days for years. It really teaches you to work as a team in a situation like that and everyone helps each other. HNC is a good qualification and I would definitely recommend it. It is hard work and there are deadlines but it is worth it. The staff treat us very well, with a lot of respect, and they’re experienced in the field they teach.

Isaac Rowe, 18

The course is interactive in the way it is taught and I think it is really good. It helps with your employability skills, leadership and academic writing. If someone wants to get into management, either civilian or military, it is very useful. I have a noticed a difference in myself since I’ve been on the course. I wasn’t as outgoing before I came here but the HNC helps you develop your confidence. I am very happy here – I like the tutors, and they are very helpful. The course is not easy but they explain things. I did A levels and thought about uni but I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter and that’s why I came here – now I am thinking about going on to the Level 5 HND. As part of the HNC we do work experience and I work in a classroom helping other Uniformed Public Services students with their assignments, as well as helping other course levels with drills and uniform inspections.

William Young, 20

If anyone asked me about doing a Level 4 course I’d say just do it – the whole programme is worth it. It is a life-changing experience and it makes you feel 10 feet tall. You get the support from everyone in your group as well as your tutors. We are all working towards similar goals and everyone is here because they want to be. I want to be an officer in the army, in the Signals or Engineers and I’m planning to go to Sandhurst for officer training. It is a fantastic course. We do work experience and help out in different classes. I am on the college cycling team so I take students out and work with them. Studying Public Services has developed me mentally and physically and I am more responsible. It is all down to the staff – they have helped me develop as a person and built up my character.

George Hounsell, 18

I want to be an officer in the Royal Armoured Corps. We went to Sandhurst with the cadets last year and that was really interesting. You can see the standard of the people who go there. As an HNC student I’m part of the Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps which helps when it comes to applying to Sandhurst – I’ve had recommendations on things to include in my application and we have had weekends on the values and standards of a leader. The HNC is challenging and rewarding. It is a completely different format to Level 3 – you have a lot more independence.

William Ridgway, 19

I never thought of going to university or taking a traditional gap year – I thought a better gap year would be to study for a higher level qualification at CRC. It keeps you fit and you gain more qualifications. I started here at Level 2 and I’ve progressed through to Level 4. I’m hoping to go to RAF Cranwell and this time next year I could be doing my specialist training as a logistics officer. You can’t narrow the course down to one word – there’s so much to it. We did a first aid at work qualification, we’ve been on a Hadrian’s Wall expedition and as HE students we can join the OTC. Everything we do helps us towards achieving our goals.

Tom Upton, 18

At this level you are given more opportunities to prove yourself as a leader and develop your skills. We were placed in command positions for the Hadrian’s Wall exercise and put in charge of logistics – food, water and supplies. We went on an OTC expedition which was hard but fun and used the skills we’d learned. We help with kit inspections, we get the cadets ready and we form them up. It is university standard work at HNC level and it is a big step up. The course is all about personal development and the skills we gain are transferable skills.

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