HND Public Services (Blue Light Services)

Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: 493L
Code: SS2300A19
Fees: View fees and financial information
Study Mode: Full Time
Start Dates: september 2020
Term Dates: View term dates

The purpose of the level 5 HND Public Services (Blue Light Services) qualification is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the sector.  Upon completion of the course you will receive a HND Public Services Diploma.  The HND is designed to support progression into relevant occupational areas or on to degree-level study. 

We are the only college in the region to offer the Blue Light specialism.  This means that whilst the overarching aim of the qualification is a HND in Public Service there is the unique opportunity to specialise in Blue Light Services which would particularly suit those seeking a career in Blue Light Services (Ambulance and Fire and Rescue).

A key feature of this programme is the vast opportunities for external engagement with the Emergency Services which includes optional  workshops and visits/ day trips with a wide range of Emergency Services, the majority of these visits are included in your tuition fees! 

Past students had the opportunity to visit;

  • Edale Youth Hostel Association – to complete the Silver National Navigation Award 
  • Royal National Life Boat Institute – workshop on the role of life boat crews 
  • Emergency Planning College (North Yorkshire) – workshop on Emergency Planning at National Level 
  • Fire Service College – exercises on the Fire Service Ground and at the Command Centre 
  • 2 day course at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Heart Team – To experience Firefighting, Water Awareness, Water Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue,workshops with Paramedics form the Urban Search and Rescue (e.g. rescue from ‘hot zones’) - This 2 day course costs £350.

The teaching team have extensive experience of working with large employers in the public services (Blue Light Services) sector and have designed the curriculum and work-based learning to meet the needs of both these employers and students.  This programme will provide education and training for a range of careers in public services, It will provide students with an insight and understanding into the diversity of roles within public services, recognising the importance of collaboration at all levels.

You will gain a wide range of sector knowledge tied to practical skills obtained in research, self-study, directed study and workplace scenarios. At Level 5, you will study a total of seven module units and develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of public services.


What will I study?

This qualification is delivered over one academic year and comprises of a number of different modules.  You will complete 120 credits and this is made up of seven module units some of which are mandatory and some you have an the option to choose.

One of the mandatory units envolves undertaking a project in which you will be able to specialise and research an area that is of specific interest to you, in consultation with your course leader.

All students take a total of 120 credits.  There are a mixture of mandatory and optional modules.

Level 5 Mandatory Modules include:

  • Research Project
  • Reflective Professional Practice
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Blue Light Collaboration

Level 5 Optional Modules of which you can choose 3 include:

  • Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Health
  • Management of an Outdoor Event
  • Advanced Fitness and Health
  • Expedition Planning
  • Cyber Security
  • International Policing
  • Training, Coaching and Mentoring Techniques
  • Aviation and Maritime Protection
  • Contemporary Sociological Issues
  • Youth Offending
  • Applied Forensic Psychology
  • Offender Management
  • Human Resources – Values and Contribution to Organisational Success
  • Resource and Talent Planning
  • Work-based Experience

Optional Modules

If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.  If an optional module will not be run, we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Entry Requirements

There are a variety of options for entry onto this course including;

  • BTEC Level 3 qualification in Public Services
  • HNC Level 4 in Public Services
  • GCSE level profile that demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or an adequate performance in more than one GCSE subject. This profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades at A* to C
  • Other related level 3 qualifications
  • An Access to Higher Education Certificate received from an approved further education institution

Applicants without formal qualifications but with relevant work experience will be considered for entry to the programme subject to an interview or an appropriate diagnostic test that involves the current recommendation process. All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course a full range of assessment techniques will be used. You could be assessed by examinations, including open-book examinations, practical assessments, assignments, briefs, essays, presentations (including group presentations), reports and portfolio building. 

Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.  This formal assessment will count towards your module mark and feedback is usually given within 3 weeks following the submission of your formal submission of work.

Additionally, some lecturers will provide informal feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions. 

Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.


We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills
What can I do next?

Students who successfully complete this qualification may progress onto further education or into employment in a variety of sectors.

The careers associated with this qualification include;

Civil Servant

Community Worker

Fire Service Officer

Fire Control Operator

Ambulance Call Handler / Emergency Medical Dispatcher