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Soldier goes from front line to first class

23 July 2014

Press Office

Jack Barron swapped the battlefields of Afghanistan for events management at UCLan.

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate Jack Barron who swapped life as a soldier in the Duke of Lancaster Regiment for the BA (Hons) Events Management course in Preston.

A soldier who swapped tanks for tutorials has graduated from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) with a first class honours degree in event management.

Jack Barron, from Preston, felt it was time for a new direction after serving five years with the British Army Duke of Lancaster’s regiment, during which time he was deployed to Afghanistan twice and wounded while on tour.

The 27-year-old made the difficult decision to leave life on the front line behind and enrolled on UCLan’s BA (Hons) Event Management course to pursue his lifelong interest in the events industry.

“I remember sitting in my patrol base wondering what I wanted to do, then my mum sent me a brochure for UCLan.”

Still passionate about the Army, Lance Corporal Jack continued his services with the Army Reserves and worked four days a week with the Army Outreach team to fund his course.

Despite juggling this with his studies, he achieved the highest degree classification and will return to UCLan in September to begin a Master’s degree in Marketing and Public Relations.

Jack said: “I remember sitting in my patrol base wondering what I wanted to do, then my mum sent me a brochure for UCLan.

“I’ve never been very academic so education had never really appealed to me, but I’ve always been interested in events management. When I was younger I worked in the events industry around Preston, starting out as a DJ and later putting on events of my own. At the time, I didn’t realise it was something I could study at University.”

“I love the Army so returning to education was a bit of a culture shock at first but it was the best decision I’ve made, I’ve had a cracking three years and the hard work has all been worth it.”

Jack’s journey wasn’t without its challenges; he admits returning to education took some adjusting and it wasn’t always easy to balance his studies with his work for the Reserves.

He added: “As a mature student I did feel the age gap at times but I came to University at the right time for me, I don’t think I’d have had the motivation at 18. I was also the only male on my course which was daunting, but I’m pretty much one of the girls now.

“I love the Army so returning to education was a bit of a culture shock at first but it was the best decision I’ve made, I’ve had a cracking three years and the hard work has all been worth it. My lecturers especially have been fantastic and the whole experience has been so important for my own personal development.”

As a side project, Jack has also set up a marketing and events company for the licensed trade, with a view to taking this full time once he completes his Master’s degree. The company, Rebel Marketing and Promotions, has already worked with UCLan’s Students’ Union, The Blackpool Illuminations Switch On and numerous events and venues around Preston.

Jack will begin his MA in Marketing and Public Relations in the new academic year and said: “I know the Master’s is going to be even more hard work and sometimes I think I must be mad, but I’m looking forward to cutting my teeth on this next challenge.”

Jack was one of a record-breaking 4,600 students who graduated in front of family and friends at Preston’s Guild Hall last week.