When Alex Brogan’s dreams of joining the Army were dashed, the University of Northampton helped him to get his life back on track – and now he’s well on his way to becoming an officer.
The Politics graduate has just embarked on the start of a gruelling year-long officer training programme at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and credits his time at the University for helping him to successfully pursue his Army dream.
“Uni has been the best three years of my life, so far,” said Alex, who graduated in July 2016. “It’s fair to say I needed those years to develop and get back on track after the disappointment of not getting in to the Army the first time around.”
Alex was 19 when he first applied for officer training. After flying through the initial selection process, he underwent a week of tests but failed to make the grade.
“After doing so well initially, I felt I was untouchable and was going to get a place at Sandhurst, no problem,” admitted Alex, who grew up in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. “The week of tests was pretty tough, where you are subjected to harsh military scenarios – and to come out of the other end and be told I hadn’t passed was a real blow.
“It was coming to the end of the summer and I really wasn’t sure what to do next, but decided university would be the best option for me.
“I contacted several universities, and Northampton was the first that came back to me and I joined via the Clearing process. Looking back, coming to Northampton was a real blessing for me.
“I have made some very good friends and living away from home gave me my independence. It also meant I had to be self-disciplined, because if I didn’t get out of bed to go to a lecture, I wouldn’t get a degree.”
Alex kept his hand in with the Army during his studies, making the journey to Nottingham several times a month to train with East Midlands University Officer Training Corps – and subsequently passed the officer training selection process at the second time of asking.
“I came out of my three years there a much more rounded person and am now looking forward to life at Sandhurst,” said Alex, who hopes to join the Royal Lancers or the Royal Dragoon Guards when he passes out.
“I’m both excited and a little anxious about the training, as it will no doubt be tough. I’ve heard stories about men being so psyched up for bayonet training that afterwards they’ve broken down in tears. And I’m fully aware I will be undertaking the ‘contract of unlimited liability’, which means I accept I may have to kill somebody, or risk being killed myself.
“It may sound obvious, but that is a fundamental aspect of the job. You never know where you may end up in the world or what will happen, and that’s something that very much appeals to me.”
Executive Dean of Research, Impact & Enterprise, Professor Simon Denny, who himself attended Sandhurst, said, “I am very impressed with Alex and by what he has achieved at University. “To complete a demanding degree course while also regularly travelling to Nottingham for military training requires commitment and excellent personal organisation. He has also spent much of his vacations with the Officer Training Corps on military exercises.
“As an ex-Army officer, and father of an RAF officer, I firmly believe that the military provides great careers for the right type of young person. I’m sure Alex will enjoy Sandhurst and rise to the challenges of the course. He has shown us what Northampton’s graduates can achieve, and I wish him all the best for the future.”