John Goulding

A photo of John in front of a banner that says Proudly Supporting our Armed Forces Community

John is ex-forces, having served with the RAF Police before leaving the military and starting his journey in higher education.

During his military career he was based at RAF Halton, Brize Norton and Shawbury as well as undertaking tours to the Falkland Islands, USA and The Former Yugoslavia. He was also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting military operations as an Air Transport Security (ATSy) Specialist.

Towards the end of his time serving with the RAF, he started coaching rugby for the Oxford University Varsity team. He realised that the doors to higher education at university were in fact open to someone like him and he enrolled at LJMU on an undergraduate sport development programme.

One of his lecturers was LJMU’s Armed Forces Champion Dr Gus Ryrie, a fellow veteran, again solidifying in John’s mind that he could go on like Gus to undertake a PhD and have a fulfilling secondary career in education.

“I hope that the university will help to reduce the number of veterans in custody by giving them educational opportunities that takes into account their experiences as opposed to formal qualifications”

– John Goulding

John undertook further study at Chester to gain an MA in Education and is now firmly back at LJMU undertaking his PhD research with the School of Education. He is working with the Veterans Hub in Liverpool to explore his thesis ‘Beyond incarceration: A phenomenological study into the educational experiences of veterans who have been in prison’.

John explains: “I will be looking at the educational experiences of veterans who have suffered incarceration. We will look at the three different stands which are formal, informal and non-formal and explore the impact that the veterans feel that had on their journey.

“I hope that the university will help to reduce the number of veterans in custody by giving them educational opportunities that take into account their experiences, as opposed to formal qualifications. I would like to see the university developing programmes for the military and for those veterans in prison to increase their life opportunities and to steer them away from criminal activities.”

John is passionate about ensuring better transition and access to education for the veteran community, particularly those who might have unexpectedly found themselves in the criminal justice system. He is also championing the idea that military families may need tailored help when sons and daughters of serving personnel or veterans decide to study at university. From his own experience, his children had very transient lives attending multiple schools as they moved for each of John’s postings, and many children of military personnel might need additional support as they move to university.

He is now representing the student body on LJMU’s Armed Forces Steering Group, working alongside staff to create better pathways for members of the Armed Forces community into university. The group are developing a flexible support structure and exploring possible mentoring schemes to provide bespoke guidance to this important group.

For Armed Forces Day 2022, John alongside other veterans at LJMU, shared what it meant to them for the university to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and pledged its support to the Armed Forces Community.