Gareth Lloyd-Davies, from Bridgend, spent eight years in the British Army. As part of the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, Gareth served in Kosovo and did two tours of Iraq. He is now studying to be a secondary school teacher on the BSc (Hons) Secondary Science with ICT with QTS at USW.
"I very much enjoyed being a soldier, however the amount of time I was spending away from my wife and son was starting to take its toll and I decided to try life on 'civvy street'.
I got a job as an instructor at the Military Preparation College in Cardiff. It was a steep learning curve at first, but I loved it and knew from the outset that I had found what I wanted to do.
After six enjoyable years, I decided to take the plunge and apply for a teacher training degree.
Taking that first step into higher education was the hardest. I agonised over the decision to join for more than 18 months. Having a young family, the thought of not earning a steady incoming was a huge concern. But it was a case of now or never, and deep down, I knew it was the right decision.
I won’t lie - the first few months were a real shock! I found some of the subjects very difficult and had to put in some extra hours in order to get by.
My course tutor, Dr Carol Wood, has been very supportive and her advice is invaluable. All the staff are friendly and approachable, and there is an open door policy should you need clarification or help to ensure you’re going in the right direction with assignments.
I’m now well into my first year and have just completed my first school placement. The skills that I acquired during my military service have helped me considerably within the classroom environment.
When it comes to the administrative side of teaching, being proactive rather than reactive is a big advantage, and I’ve definitely benefitted from the personal discipline that the army installs in its soldiers!
Behaviour management is a skill soldiers acquire through their career, without realising it. Learners respond very positively to a routine and structure within the classroom.
I get a real sense of pride when a lesson that has been planned and prepared methodically works as intended, and your learners not only complete the task to a high standard but enjoy the lesson too."
USW has dedicated support for former and serving armed forces personnel, which aims to accredit your experiential and credited learning via our Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme and assist with access on to our undergraduate and postgraduate courses. We also offer study skills workshops and advice for those returning to education.