I am SSgt Liam Baldwin RAPTCI of 29 Cdo Regt RA and have completed a BSc degree in Sports Science Strength & Conditioning at the University of Marjon – Plymouth in July 2018. I commenced the course In July 2015 and I am grateful for the opportunity the Army has given me to pursue and complete the degree. It is definitely something I thought I would never achieve having left school with ‘ok’ GCSE’s and 1 A level to my name.
I started the course after beginning the RAPTC class1 probationers' transfer course from the REME. It has always been an aspiration of mine to transfer into the RAPTC and I am thankful that my career has been fortunate thus far. I was very apprehensive about beginning the degree initially and my first mark from my first essay confirmed this as it was barely a pass. To get used to referencing every tiny piece of information you were using within your work was sometimes really unbearable because some nights I would sit for hours in front of Google Scholar and only find 1 or 2 small bits of information that were useful!
As the course progressed, so did my confidence and my work standard (thankfully). By the end, I was submitting 2:1 standard pieces of work which was great as I’d set up initially to get a 2:2 overall. The course itself was very challenging academically but also really insightful and great to use top of the range items of kit for testing and protocols. Whether it was testing a persons’ VO2 max score (a lung-busting best effort on a treadmill with a respiratory mask on as you are observed and tested throughout until complete exhaustion), or taking blood lactate samples (extracting small amounts of blood to check the lactic acid amount within the bloodstream) to test for lactate threshold (point of muscle cramp).
Looking forward this degree will help me immensely as the Army fully immerses itself into Prog THOR and the new forward way of Military Training which will look to train personnel effectively and in turn hopefully reduce the number of Muscular Skeletal Injuries ‘MSKIs’. Concentrating on building a stronger soldier which will enable them to cope with the demands of modern-day rigors of warfare.
Lastly, I would like to thank my family who were a great support throughout, especially my wife (who has a masters degree of her own) and also 29 Cdo Regt RA for allowing me to continue my personal development. The RACPD have been supporting me since I was a LCpl before RAPTC selection. I completed the old PTLLS and CTLLS now known as L3 & L4 in Education and Teaching through them and they have now helped me get loaded onto the L5 course starting (in my pursuit of becoming a qualified Physical Education Teacher) in January 2019 along with a Soldiers/Offenders teaching exchange which I am looking forward to. I would like to thank Mr Mark Slaiter who is the PD advisor here at 29 Cdo Regt RA who has been a great help and asset to the Regiment.