Lance Bombardier (LBdr) Michael Aberdeen will continue studying for a degree despite being deployed to Afghanistan in March – thanks to support from University of Essex Online.
LBdr Aberdeen is part of the 12th Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Baker Barracks near Portsmouth. Although he is about to be stationed thousands of miles from the UK he is determined to continue studying part-time to gain his business degree.

Programme Leaders for University of Essex Online responded by rearranging the structure of his course so he could continue working towards his degree while stationed overseas. LBdr Aberdeen started studying for his Foundation degree 18 months ago and aims to go on to complete a BA (Hons) Business and Management course. He said: “Since I started studying for my Foundation degree I haven’t looked back. Having a degree will not only enhance my career prospects within the Army, but also in whatever I decide to do in the future.”

Studying for a degree online usually requires access to the internet on a daily basis to watch online lectures and take part in seminars. When in Afghanistan, LBdr Aberdeen will only have limited internet access so a special syllabus request had to be submitted to change the structure of his course which will allow him to continue with his studies.

LBdr Aberdeen said: “I can’t thank University of Essex Online enough for all the help and support they have given me. There has never been an occasion where my Student Adviser has not been at the end of the phone willing to listen and offer advice. I would recommend studying with University of Essex Online to anyone who has similar demands on their time, but still wants to enhance their education.”

Liz Kirrane, Programme Leader for University of Essex Online, said: “We pride ourselves in offering a flexible way of studying and always try to accommodate the specific needs of our students, especially someone like Michael, who is working in demanding circumstances and wants to continue studying against the odds.”

The decision by LBdr Aberdeen to study for his degree was very much welcomed by his Commanding Officer, Lt Col MJG Rimmer RA: “12th Regiment Royal Artillery fully supports soldiers who wish to further their education. Individuals, such as LBdr Aberdeen, who undertake intensive and time consuming studies, demonstrate dedication and a willingness to learn. In addition these individuals broaden their knowledge and make themselves more employable within the Army.”

“LBdr Michael Aberdeen is a member of T Headquarters Battery whose Battery Commander, Major Michael Lawrence RA, has a policy of day release on a weekly basis for him and others, in recognition of the additional study time needed and demands of degree level education. LBdr Aberdeen has chosen to continue his studies whilst deployed in Afghanistan, a bold and commendable ambition which is fully supported by his Chain of Command.

“The regiment is grateful to the University of Essex Online for rearranging its course syllabus to accommodate LBdr Aberdeen’s continued studies. Recognition of individuals’ efforts and achievements in austere and difficult conditions is appreciated and always welcome.”
The virtual learning environment used by students studying University of Essex Online courses allows students to listen to and watch online lectures and take part in live seminars. Dedicated Student Advisers provide support throughout the course and students can chat online with fellow students and their tutor.