Alex Fletcher, 40, from Andover, graduated from the BSc (Hons) Risk Management Security Operations and Investigation in July 2017.
Before coming to University, Alex was in the police and the armed forces – serving for 13 years as a police officer in Grenada, where he was attached to a specialist para-military unit, before joining the Royal Artillery.
In 2014, Alex was medically discharged from the Army, due to injury and noise induced hearing loss.
"Having to give up the career and lifestyle I loved and had always been a part of was a shocking blow to my lifelong aspirations," he said.
The core values in the army taught me to serve and to protect and always back myself to succeed. I decided to plan for a career within the UK private security industry. This would enable me to utilise the years of experience gained from my diverse work history and to continue to protect others in our society.
Through the Standard Learning Credits (SLC) available while serving, I had completed numeracy, literacy and information technology courses at the Regimental Learning Centre. With these qualifications and the availability of funding through the Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) Scheme, I applied for the BSc (Hons) Risk Management Security Operations and Investigation degree programme at the University of South Wales.
This course was my first choice because of how it is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of the growing private security industry. With the continuous professionalisation of the sector, ex-armed forces personnel are in high demand because of the inherent skills we offer to the sector.
My army service enabled me to start my degree programme at year two. This was possible through the University’s Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) programme for ex-armed forces personnel. Pioneered by the Armed Forces Champion, Ross Hall, this assessment awards academic credits for the skills and knowledge gained from army service and work history.
The transition into university was obviously challenging. Having to adapt to an academic style of writing and critically assessing the work of others presented the greatest amount of difficulty. However, with practice and support from the dedicated team of lecturers at the International Centre for Policing and Security, it resulted in one of my greatest achievements.
Coming from a service background, there were times when I felt I had made the wrong decision to pursue my dreams in higher education. However, I can firmly say that the University of South Wales were there to make my dream a reality.
During the long nights of studying, I sometimes reflected on the final few miles of a loaded march during the Commanding Officer’s physical training session. I had to harness that determination and the willpower to overcome the obstacles and successfully complete my assignments on time.
My fellow students were always there for moral support when I was unable to attend sessions. The sense of appreciation for my contributions to our course, which I brought from my service in the armed forces, was truly rewarding. They made my time at the university memorable.
The academic and support staff at the University will always have my respect and appreciation for the way they provided an environment conducive to achieving success. They were always willing to help and provide direction when I was unsure of where I should be or what I should be doing. As insignificant as it may seem, this feeling of belonging went a long way towards my overall success.
For me now, the sky is the limit and my outlook towards personal development continues to grow. I am re-entering the job market with greater aspirations and an added motivation to serve our society to the best of my potential.
If you are planning to leave the army or have already left, consider higher education. The experience, skills and qualities gained from the service are all recognised and highly appreciated. The support is there for you to succeed. What’s more, the University have a dedicated Armed Forces team to help make the process as easy as possible."