Our Graduates

MBA Graduate Ben Roberts

Flight Lieutenant Ben Roberts, who is based at Royal Air Force (RAF) Boulmer in Northumberland, has achieved a distinction studying part-time on the HM Forces MBA course alongside his day-job as Surveillance Officer in the Aerospace Battle Management (ABM) branch of the RAF.

Ben was already a graduate at Staffordshire University and had no hesitation when he decided he wanted to take his studies further.

“It’s been really good to come back to Staffs. It’s been busy alongside a primary job but the RAF is great at letting people get away and do their educational studies. It’s definitely manageable and has kept me thinking.”

Intelligence and Security Graduates

July 2015

Staffordshire University graduates Sean Reece and Andrew Flanagan both studies our BSc (Hons) Intelligence and Security top-up.

The Intelligence and Security course covers digital forensics to ethical hacking and aims to equip students with skills that can then be applied in their daily work.

“It’s a fast paced environment in this field. We have cyber protection teams in the Royal Air Force so I can bring back my experience from the course and incorporate what I’ve learned into our day-to-day activities.”

Find out what they had to say about the Intelligence and Security course and why Staffordshire University was the choice for them.

Honours and Honorary awards for Armed Forces Personnel from Staffordshire University

Michael-Gunn-and-Steve-Parkes“I feel both greatly privileged, while at the same time humbled, to receive the award of an Honorary Doctorate from such an enterprising University....." Wing Commander Steve Parkes

HM Forces Graduates Technology Awards

July 2014

Royal Air Force Wing Commander Steve Parkes has received an Honorary Award from Staffordshire University during their graduation ceremonies this month.

The awards at the Trentham Estate highlighted the achievements of Wing Commander Parkes who was nominated in recognition of his major contribution to the University and dedication to working with its Partnerships team and Business School to develop pioneering partnerships with the Armed Forces.
This commitment has helped to ensure the continued and growing success of tailored awards for staff in the Personnel Branch of the Royal Air Force.

Commenting on his award, he said: “I feel both greatly privileged, while at the same time humbled, to receive the award of an Honorary Doctorate from such an enterprising University.  In my opinion, I’ve just been doing my job in providing Service men and women in the Personnel Branch and Trade of the Royal Air Force with the opportunity to achieve higher level academic qualifications, while being recognised for their military skills.  It was a real pleasure to see the pride in the faces of the young men and women receiving their awards today; they have achieved so much – that’s my real award.”

He added: “Today’s military is focused on delivering efficient operations, which need to be underpinned by academic excellence. The partnership between Staffordshire University and HM Forces is constantly responding to developments within the sector and providing the most up-to-date skills.”

Wing Commander Parkes collected his award alongside more than 60 other HM Forces personnel who will be graduating from Staffordshire University awards including Aviation, Human Resource Management, Engineering, Leadership and Management, and the Masters in Business Administration (MBA). The bespoke courses provide the flexibility required by the military whilst working in challenging environments, whilst recognising and validating their skills according to their rank, experience and role.

Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships at Staffordshire University, said; ““We are extremely proud to have worked successfully with our valued partners in the Armed Forces, and the high number of successful graduates receiving their awards this year is testament to the triumph of our extended range of learning opportunities.”

Lesley Allen, Staffordshire University HM Forces Programmes Manager, added: “Combining studying with a life in active service is incredibly challenging and these graduates should be justifiably proud of their hard work and achievements.”

She added: “We’re very pleased that a growing number of personnel are embracing the opportunities that the University offers by recognising their training and experience and transferring that in to the qualifications.”


September 2013

"The partnership between the Royal Air Force and Staffordshire University has been going on now for four years and it's been quite a journey. We've covered a lot of ground and it's been a real opportunity to take the work forward.

Because of the flexibility of the University and the way they can adapt to the military environment it gives us an opportunity for our people to really get a high level education that not only can they use in the Royal Air Force but we can use when they leave and that's an important retention measure.

Being on active service and studying at the same time is a challenge, but it is something we need to be able to do and with modern technology we are able to achieve that; so whilst they can study in the UK homeland, their study can continue in the operational theatre. Some may do it in a very short time, two or three years; some may take 5 years or more, but the flexibility of Staffordshire University to help us achieve this has been very important."

Wing Commander Steve Parkes

MBA provides opportunity

11th October 2012

David Finnigan was a Senior Officer with no formal qualification above A Level when he heard of the Staffordshire University MBA scheme, which he viewed as an opportunity to fill his skills gap. David says he had no idea at the time that he would leave the military.

After 25 years of front line service the demands of military life were impacting on David’s family so he decided to leave and moved to Dubai where he started a new career. He now works as a management consultant and trainer.

David says, “What started as an opportunity to fill a qualification gap is now a key part of my day life! I use the text books and my MBA studies on a daily basis and they have not only enabled my new career, but enhanced it considerably.

Were it not for the MBA, I would not be in the position that I am now. The course work is invaluable and of significant value. The staff also continue to provide outstanding advice up and beyond the course subjects and this is also of great value.

I started this MBA not realising how important it would prove to be.  I would recommend that everyone should consider it; you never know when you might need it!"

David Finnigan
ex Sqn Ldr, RAF Pilot


11th September 2012

“We are delighted to have found a University who is willing to be totally flexible in the way it works with us. Staffordshire University has looked at what we have already done with our members, to build qualifications which recognise the existing skills and experience of our staff, whilst developing critical thinking and providing additional knowledge and development. Critically for us, it helps to improve retention and for our staff it gives them a platform from which their broader skills base can appeal to potential employers when it comes to life outside the force.”

Group Captain Phil Sagar MBE

Degree is passport to new career for Steve

31 August 2012

For RAF serviceman Steve Brash, graduation marks the end of one fulfilling career and the start of a new one.

Steve, 40, has served 21 years as part of 24 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. He studied his BSc(Hons) in Applied Aviation Studies by distance learning with Staffordshire University after completing his Foundation degree last year.

“I enjoyed the experience. The first module was a general introduction to learning – how to research, write an essay and IT skills – the majority of which has not only been useful for me to get my degree but has also been useful for my role in the RAF.”

Steve, a weapons systems operator who was employed on C130 Hercules, also praised the course flexibility.

“I was going on detachment to Iraq and the University worked hard to get the study materials to me a month before they would have otherwise done so that I could take it away with me.”

Steve, who was rewarded with a First for his efforts, is now relocating to Northumberland with his wife and three children to embark on a new course of study – and a new career.

He said: “I’m doing a PGCE next  - I’ve thought about teaching for a while. The module in career management was particularly useful and has helped me to prepare for the PGCE. I’m grateful that the RAF have supported my resettlement in the way they have.”


July 2011

Gary Stenning "I studied the RAF Foundation Degree in Leadership and Management.  The blended learning worked very well...it suited my style of learning."

WO Ash Malik "The MBA at Staffordshire University is a fantastic programme.  Designed primarily for military personnel, it fits really well with Military life."