A former crime scene investigator with the army has graduated with a top degree from the University of South Wales.
Gareth Parry, 35, from Abergavenny, spent 13 years in the Military Police, and served tours in Iraq and Northern Ireland during his career.
Having joined the army at the age of 17, Gareth he hadn’t initially considered university when he decided to leave. That is, until he found out about the Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCAS) funding scheme, which helps ex-armed forces personnel get back into education by funding their chosen higher education qualification.
"I decided to apply for Forensic Science courses, as I’d had experience in the Special Investigation Branch of the Military Police – the army’s equivalent of the CID," said Gareth.
"The University of South Wales was, at that time, one of only four universities in the UK to be accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, so I applied – and happily accepted a place on the course."
After studying a Foundation degree and then the three-year forensic science degree at USW, Gareth graduated with a 2:1. He is the first person in his family to go to university.
His next step is a Masters course in Analytical and Forensic Science, after a well-earned year out from study. "I really enjoyed the course, and have made some great friends along the way," he added.
"The student lifestyle took some getting used to at first though; going from what was often a seven-day working week to managing my own time was a huge adjustment, and I didn’t feel busy enough.
But I’m really proud that I was able to make that transition and I’m so happy with my results. It makes all the hard work worthwhile."
The training and knowledge acquired while serving in the Armed Forces can earn you part of an undergraduate or masters degree. You could start university this September.
Find out more about our Armed Forces Scheme.