Case Two: Eric Hartley
A lifetime association with the RAF has not clipped a Chester student’s academic wings, as he graduates from the University of Chester this week with an MSc in Business and Information Technology.
Eric has had to stay focused and motivated whilst balancing academic, personal and professional needs, being deployed to dangerous and difficult locations at a moment’s notice. As such his academic achievements should be rightly recognised and applauded.
Eric Hartley, from Wrexham, spent most of his life moving from place to place due to his father being in the RAF. When his father retired, Eric enlisted in the Air Force himself and continued his relationship with the armed forces.
However, this lifestyle did not prevent Eric from pursuing higher education, as he took advantage of the University of Chester’s Work Based Integrated Studies (WBIS) programme, which helps people pursue courses in higher education while continuing their career.
After originally earning an undergraduate IT degree in Hertfordshire, Eric was on the move again and landed in Chester, where he approached the University’s Professional Development Centre with the intention of adding another qualification to his achievements.
After a meeting with staff, Eric was encouraged to try a Master’s through the WBIS programme, signed up and began the tricky task of balancing professional work with study.
The flexibility of the course allowed him to fit it into his busy life as an engineer for the RAF and, Eric said: “In the end, I didn’t find the course too problematic. As it was so flexible I was able to manage my time easily and so didn’t face too many difficulties.”
If balancing the two wasn’t enough though, Eric also found time to manage the RAF rugby team and travelled to Australia last year, to compete in the International Defence World Cup. So as not to fall behind on his academic work, Eric worked on his dissertation during the six-week competition and was successful in finishing it.
He also brought study into his working life as, Eric explained: “Before becoming an engineer, I worked as an instructor at an RAF training school. We were having a new IT system installed but the contractor ran into a few staffing problems. I was asked to help out and, using knowledge I learned on my MSc, I was able to step in and complete the job.”
Eric’s ability to juggle several demanding tasks did not go unnoticed, as Jeremy Peach, a Senior Lecturer in the University’s Professional Development Department said: “Given the pressure the RAF is under around the world this makes his success quite unique. Eric has had to stay focused and motivated whilst balancing academic, personal and professional needs, being deployed to dangerous and difficult locations at a moment’s notice. As such his academic achievements should be rightly recognised and applauded.”