Orla One Step Closer to Career Through Uniformed Protective Services Course

0 min read

20 February 2024

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SERC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Uniformed Protective Services student Orla Dempster, (18), Kircubbin, is gaining the skills and experience she needs to achieve her career goals as part of her learning.  

Orla completed her GCSEs and AS Levels at Our Lady and St Patrick's College, Knock. While studying for her AS Levels, she realized that the A- Level and university pathway wasn’t for her. Orla decided to enrol at SERC after doing research online and talking to past SERC pupils who recommended the College to her.  

On her course, Orla comments, “I like that there is a good mix between practical and theory, so you’re not always just learning in a classroom. As part of the course, you get to go on a residential to Ballykinler for work experience; it lasts for 5 days and you get to take on obstacle courses, have sleepouts where you learn to set up your own tent, learn to cook your own food, and practice orientation as part of the cadets. You can also go out and complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award at bronze, silver or gold level as part of the course, and there are gym classes to keep you fit too.  

“In terms of theory, you learn a lot about government, politics, citizenship, diversity and emergency planning. You also get to create your own fitness plans, so there's a great range of topics to learn about. The tutors really do support you – they help you with references and applications to jobs and make sure you have as many opportunities for volunteering as possible to help expand your CV.” 

“The course can seem quite scary, as Protective Services are a huge responsibility, but it’s very informative and the tutors take you through the information one step at a time. You don’t realise how much the opportunities you get as part of the course can help you academically and socially - they’ve helped me to develop leadership skills as well as how to work more effectively as part of a team.” 

On what she wants to do after her course, Orla comments, “I want to sign up for Camp Canada to get more experience in a leadership role, and I’m also in the process of applying to the police service in England.” 

Orla concludes, “I would definitely recommend SERC to anyone looking to study. Coming here was the best decision for me, as I didn’t suit the regular school environment for learning, and university didn’t seem like the pathway I wanted to go down.  I'm enjoying the more practical learning environment in SERC much more and I’m on a pathway to a career I’m a lot more interested in through the course.” 

Apply now for courses commencing September 2024. Come along to our full-time open evening from 4.00pm – 7.00pm on Thursday 7 March at the Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards Campuses.

Visit www.serc.ac.uk to unlock your future #BetterOffAtSERC.