Environmental Studies & Conservation

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma

Apply for 2024

The countryside sector needs people who understand both the science and the practical elements required to manage the many conflicting demands on rural areas. This course aims to prepare you for the task of successful countryside management.

You’ll find this advanced level course really interesting; undertaking a mix of coursework and practical hands-on sessions within our excellent rural site at Plumpton College

You’ll study a wide range of relevant conservation issues and analyse the complex impact that tourism and development have on the countryside and have a greater understanding of the scientific implications relating to these issues, enabling you to evaluate the threats and solutions that conservationists currently face. 

Practical skills underpin every element of this course.  You will gain a broad knowledge of the different habitats around us including relevant legislatio, and hands-on experience  of the 'gold-star' management techniques that can be implemented to conserve the flora and fauna they contain. 

All in all, the course will provide you with the practical skills and knowledge necessary to provide you with a purposeful role in conservation or will enable you to progress to higher level education.

Work Experience

Study programmes include a minimum of compulsory work experience hours achieved through one day a week or block placements. The amount of hours required is dependent on the study programme. 

Careers Hub

We offer impartial careers guidance to all of our students, email careers@plumpton.ac.uk to explore your next step or to book an appointment – we’re here to help.

Industry Work Placement

All students aged 16-18 on our Level 2 & Level 3 programmes will now have to take part in an exciting and compulsory 50-day industry placement programme alongside completion of their vocational course. The programme will give you the chance to gain valuable skills in a real working environment whilst being paired with your ideal employer.

Our mission is to pair students with their ideal employer and to support them continuously during the placement.

There is flexibility on how students complete the placement; it can be during non-college weekdays, weekends, in blocks or over the holiday period. You will receive all of the necessary information during your interview, and if you have any queries in the meantime please contact workexperience@plumpton.ac.uk

Qualifications Gained

  • City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land & Wildlife (Countryside)
  • Plumpton College Certificate
  • College award, Functional Skills or GCSEs in English and Maths

Course details

Dates & Location

September 2023


2 year course

Between 2 and 4 days per week depending on the level studied. 


If you will be over 19 on the start date of your course you maybe required to pay tuition fees. Please contact enquiries@plumpton.ac.uk to confirm.

Entry Requirements

  • You’ll need to have achieved 5 GCSEs between Grade 9-4 (previous grade structure A-C) including English, Maths and a Science
  • Successful completion of a related Level 2 qualification and GCSE maths or English at grade c/4 or above

Mature students without the above requirements will be considered 

We caught up with Adam Hersey, ex-student at Plumpton College who studied our City & Guilds level 3 Advanced Techical Diploma to ask him a few questions:

Why did you decide to study at Plumpton College?

"Because it was the best agricultural college in my region. Nestled at the base of the South Downs it has a wide range of different habitats in which to learn. I chose the course after having visited the college during one of its open days and it was clear that this was the best course, offering a broad selection of topics that would allow doors to be opened to me in years to come."

What were your favourite parts of the course?

"For me, I really enjoyed the diversity of the modules covered. It ranged from practical estate skills, that I still use in my current job, to learning how to read the history of the land through landscape archaeology. My favourite part was learning about the different ecology habitats and the complexities of say, a woodland environment. Learning about the delicate balances between species in the world around me was fascinating."

How has the course benefitted you career-wise?

"I had previously applied for jobs in the conservation sector and had, on a number of occasions, been given feedback that I needed more formal qualifications in conjunction with the volunteering hours I had been completing at a local National Trust property. The level 3 diploma was perfect for setting me up for a career in conservation. I liked that there was flexibility for completing the course. I was able to condense the course to a one-year subsidiary diploma giving me the qualifications needed for a career change.  

I’ve been lucky enough to land my dream job. After my apprenticeship, I applied for and got the job working for the National Trust at Nymans as one of two Rangers here. Between us and a team of 25 volunteers we look after 275 acres of Ancient Woodland. It is a magnificent place to call my office."



Adam Hersey

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma

Future Opportunities

Students completing this course can pursue a wide range of career paths within the conservation industry.  Roles vary according to each persons area of expertise and skills.  They may include practical skills or working alongside the public.  However working independently outdoors is also often a feature of conservation roles.  Example employment could be:

  • Ranger/Assistant Ranger
  • Estates Manager
  • Ecologist
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Interpretation Provider
  • Landscape surveyor
  • Rights of Way Officer
  • Reserve Manager or Officer


Indicative Programme Content

You can look forward to a varied programme of modules that also includes a work placement. You’ll also continue your English and Maths up to GCSE level. Modules include:

  • Work Experience
  • Health and Safety
  • Estate Skills
  • Land Based Machinery operations
  • Principles of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
  • Countryside Recreation
  • Environmental Interpretation
  • Grassland Management
  • River Fishery Creation
  • Heathland management
  • Freshwater and Wetland Management
  • Ecological Concepts and application
  • Woodland Habitat management
  • Farm Habitat Management
  • Archaeology
  • Coastal Management
  • Greenwood Crafts
  • Environmental Processes
  • Specialist Project

Other courses that may interest you

Ready to take the next step?