Seminar to celebrate the work of Bob Fryer

Today I attended a seminar at the National Education Union in London to celebrate the work of Professor Bob (Rob) Fryer.  Bob has spent 50 years working in higher and adult education as a teacher, researcher, policy advisor, practitioner and leader in relation to employment, industrial relations, trades unionism and lifelong learning.  The aim of the seminar was to bring together a group of Bob’s friends, colleagues and former students who have shared in some of his time and work, and for the group to reflect upon and discuss aspects of that work and the times in which it occurred.

Bob/Rob started as a research assistant at Imperial College and research officer at Barnet House in Oxford, where he had been a postgraduate student. He proceeded through a lectureship at UMIST (where I was one of his students in industrial relations) and was subsequently a research fellow, lecturer and senior lecturer at Warwick University.  He was Principal of the Northern College for 15 years and was simultaneously Sheffield Hallam University’s first professor of lifelong learning.  Bob then became Assistant Vice-Chancellor at Southampton University and his working career culminated as Chief Executive of NHS University and national ‘Tsar’ for Widening Participation in Learning in the NHS. 

Along the way, Bob also served on a number of official inquiries and national policy committees, worked closely with unions on change and reform, notably NUPE and the formation of UNISON.  In addition, Bob has been a Chair, member or advisor on several public bodies and boards centred on education, training and lifelong learning. 

Bob is a great guy who has contributed so much and I was pleased to make a short intervention at the event to express my thanks.

One Comment

  • Nadine Wiseman

    Nice to hear about a positive celebration, especially in the light of the trade union difficulties as outlined in your previous post.


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