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Level 3 OCR

Secretarial/PA (Advanced)


Level 3

Career Sector

Financial Sector & Professional Services

Available At


Start Date


Course overview

This course is ideal if you are interested in working as a Secretary or Personal Assistant.
It leads to the OCR Diploma in Business Administration - a professionally recognised Level 3 qualification.

In preparation for employment, self-management skills will be developed throughout and you will be encouraged to solve problems independently when completing your assessments.

Assessment for the Business Administration element of the course is assignment based; assignments for each unit are internally marked by teachers and externally moderated by OCR.  There are also timed practical exams in Text Processing and Shorthand.

You will take the Level 2 Diploma in Year one and complete the Level 3 Diploma in year two. This is a very practical, hands-on course where you will learn all the skills that a modern Secretary/Personal Assistant needs. Throughout the course you will research topics and become proficient with all the software packages included in the Microsoft Office suite.

Entry requirements

  • At least five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above including English Language or Maths. If your English Language is a D/3, your Maths must be at least a C/4 and vice versa


  • A Level 2 BTEC Diploma or above and GCSE English Language or Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Grade C/4 or above in GCSE English Language
  • Grade C/4 or above in GCSE Maths is also desirable - you will be required to re-sit it if you have not already achieved it

What will I study?

Secretaries and Personal Assistants work within a wide variety of different organisations, both large and small. You will develop your knowledge, understanding and practical ability in a full range of Secretarial and Administrative functions, including:

  • Written communication
  • Planning travel and accommodation
  • Handling diary systems
  • Organising meetings and events
  • You will also learn Teeline Shorthand, document presentation and IT skills.


Business Administration:

Working in Administration (Year One)

Written business communication (Year One)

Organise business travel and accommodation (Year One)

Handling diary systems (Year One)

Organising meetings (Year One)

Understanding functions and roles within business organisations (Year Two)

Producing complex business documents (Year Two)

Supporting business meetings (Year Two)

Organising a business event (Year Two)

Carry out research and prepare a report (Year Two)

Text Processing:

Text production, Level 2 (Year One)

Audio transcription, Level 2 (Year One)

Word processing, Level 2 (Year One)

Business presentations, Level 2 (Year One)

Speed keying (Year One)

Shorthand theory (Year One)

Text production, Level 3 (Year Two)

Legal word processing, Level 3 (Year Two)

Document presentation, Level 3 (Year Two)

Speed keying (Year Two)

Developing Shorthand speed building skills (Year Two)


You will develop the knowledge and skills you need to carry out tasks within the workplace using the Microsoft Office suite.

Why study Secretarial/PA (Advanced) at USP College?

  • Visits relating to the units covered will be arranged, including two conference centres as part of the 'Organise a Business Event' unit and a visit to two farms as part of the 'Carry out Research & Prepare a Report' unit.
  • Shorthand is not taught on many college courses, but it is still a desirable skill within the working environment. By completing this subject within the course, you will be provided with a unique advantage when seeking employment.
  • Tutors on the course have previously worked as Secretaries/Personal Assistants within a variety of organisations, both large and small, in London and locally, so have wide industry knowledge.

What could I do next?

You could get a job as an Administrator/Junior Secretary or Team Secretary, then progress to become a Senior Secretary/Personal Assistant. The skills acquired on the course will also allow you to progress to a more specialised role, including a management position.

Progression to Higher Education is also possible with some universities, and previous students have carried on to degree courses in Business Administration and Event Management.


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