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Rob Lawson

Rob was a journalist for more than 35 years, working in newspapers in Yorkshire and the North East. He was appointed Editor of The Shields Gazette in 1997 and The Sunderland Echo in 2002. He was also Editorial Director of Northeast Press and Tweeddale Press.

In 2012 he left newspapers to create his own PR and media consultancy. At the same time he joined the board at Sunderland College, becoming Chair in 2013. Rob oversaw the creation of Education Partnership North East when Sunderland College merged with Hartlepool Sixth Form (2017) and Northumberland College (2019). In 2019 he also became a National Leader in Governance in the FE sector, and in 2020-21 Rob carried out several Board Reviews for the AoC/ETF pilot programme. He was later asked by the FEC to carry out an audit of these pilot reviews, talking to 23 of the colleges involved and then compiling a report on what worked and what needed developing.

Rob stood down from EPNE in 2021, joined the RNN board for nine months before becoming Chair at Hull College in September 2022. He has completed three External Board Reviews and moderated four others.

He was awarded an OBE for services to the FE sector in 2021.