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Q&A with Curriculum Leader for HNC/D Public Services, Claire Peart

We chatted to Claire Peart, Curriculum Leader for HNC/D Public Services to hear all about the course on offer at Newcastle College and how the course could set learners up for a career in the armed forces, police, prison service or prison service.

Tell us about yourself and your teaching experience

I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and gained a job in an Further Education college shortly after. I then achieved my PGCE qualification and moved to NSCG in 2019. I have taught a range of units for Sport and Public service BTEC courses from Level 1 to HND (Level 5). I also have several roles for the examination board including external moderating and examiner roles, so lots to keep me busy and abreast with all things public services.

Who or what inspired you to get into public services teaching?

I enjoy teaching public service students as they have a clear focus on what they want to achieve in their careers. It feels good that I inspire students to progress into careers which will support society in the future.


What do you love most about your job?

I love working with all of my students, every day is different. I particularly enjoy seeing them achieve academically as well as grow in confidence throughout their time with us. Learners can progress into a variety of roles so it's always really interesting to welcome lots of guest speakers into college to give learners as many options as possible to think about.

Q. Tell us all about the HNC/D Public Services course?

A. The HNC Public Services course is a one-year programme with the possibility of progressing onto the HND (Level 5) course. The course has some theory and practical units and all units are internally assessed; therefore no exams! The students study subjects such as Equality, Diversity and Fair Treatment in the Public Services, Psychology of Behaviour, Responding to Emergencies and Crime Reduction and Community Safety. Learners gain a sound understanding of the way the public services work whilst improving their confidence and developing their communication skills in preparation for a career in the public services. So lots to get stuck into!

Q. How do learners benefit from studying at NSCG over moving away to university?

A. Many of our students progress from Level 3 here at NSCG. Students benefit from continuing their studies with us as they know the college, have greater support due to smaller class sizes and enjoy the familiarity of the friendly public services staff. And of course, financially you will save money by living at home and you can also take advantage of lower course fees, so it's definitely worth considering.

Q. Do learners get the chance to get involved in enrichment and career-based activities?

A. Yes! And this is a brilliant element of the course content. We welcome guest speakers from the emergency services, armed forces and voluntary organisations into the college to share their experiences and give careers advice which is always really interesting. We have recently had visits from the Army Inclusion and Engagement Team to discuss equality and diversity within the armed forces and Wolverhampton University to discuss possible progression onto a Level 6 top up degree. Other enrichment activities have included visits to local courts, giving learners a real insight into the criminal justice system.

Q. What has been the most memorable part of the course for you this year?

A. Each year, around Easter, we take our group of learners on 

Q. Do you think there are any particular qualities someone wanting to get into a public services career needs to have?

A. I believe that the main personal qualities needed in any public service role are discipline and resilience. Effective communication skills are also key and our students work on improving these throughout their studies, volunteering opportunities and extra-curricular activities.

What are the most popular career pathways of your recent learners?

A. Our students progress into a wide range of roles within the public services. Some move on to a university for a top-up degree in Policing and Intelligence. We have had others who progress into roles within the NHS, security services as well as the Police apprenticeship programme. It's such a varied course.

Q. What would your advice be for learners who are still weighing up their options for September, and are yet to make a firm course choice?

A. The HNC/D pathway focuses on specific careers within the public services. I would recommend studying this course if interested in a career in one of the public services; specifically the emergency services and armed forces. Take a good luck at the course content or get in touch to have a chat about your options. We're here to help you to make sure this is the best course for you.

For more information about studying a University level course at NSCG, click here.