John Murray

I feel proud to have had the opportunity to successfully complete the BA. Leaving school early to embark on my military career has meant I’ve felt a sense of ‘unfinished business’.

John Murray, Irish Defence Forces
John Murray, Rtd. Regimental Sergeant Major, Irish Defence Forces

RPL was the right fit for me as I was coming up to retirement and I wanted to have an academic stamp on my career. It was important for me to keep busy and give something back to the DF and society. I’m not afraid of embracing new challenges and I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone which would hopefully afford me new opportunities in the future.

I recently retired from the Defence Forces with the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Communications and Information Services (CIS) Corps. I completed 40-year service which included 15 overseas tours of duty in both United Nations and NATO-led missions, each tour being of 6 months duration. My work both at home and abroad was as a Communications & Information Systems specialist. As well as being a specialist in my various roles in the CIS Corps I was responsible for the training and monitoring of staff and using my experience to assist, improve and make the training relevant to the roles of the Corps.

As Regimental Sergeant Major of the Corps, I was the senior non-commissioned officer of the Corps thus the overseer of standards of the Corps and a mentor, a leader to the Junior Officers, non-commissioned officers and signalers of the Corps. This also allowed me to account for and equate my technical and military carrier courses into credits for the BA programme. I was on the slip road to retiring from the DF when the proposed RPL/BA project was suggested to me. The DF office overseeing this project encouraged and guided me from day one.

RPL gave structure and accountability to my service; it put value on my career through the currency of academia. It presented me with an opportunity and the confidence to attempt the BA.

The fact that I left school at fifteen and never had the opportunity to complete my leaving cert was not a barrier to successfully achieving my Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies Programme. To put it quite simply, I would say, 'Go for it!' Your service counts and the RPL programme adds value to your service. Having completed the RPL programme has given me the option to continue serving society in my retirement. RPL will give you the opportunity to achieve the BA and the BA is your passport into civilian employment and or to further education if that is your choice.