Sir Bob Murray is to be the guest speaker at Derwentside College’s Annual Awards ceremony in his home-town of Consett later this

Sir Bob Murray
Sir Bob Murray with Albert Croney, Principal and Chief Executive of Derwentside College

year and will personally sponsor four new special achievement awards for local students.

Sir Bob who is best known as a successful businessman and philanthropist and for his chairmanship of Sunderland AFC is increasingly recognised as a leading advocate of the power of education to change young people’s lives.

Sir Bob said: “It is an honour to be invited to be the guest speaker at the Annual Awards ceremony at Derwentside College This will be the second time I have given an address at Derwentside, having been previously invited in 2001.

Derwentside College has an excellent track record and enviable reputation in vocational training and education and plays an important role in shaping the future destinies of young people.

I left school at 16 with just one O’ Level and the baby boom in the immediate aftermath of the war meant that there were twice as many people looking for work in 1961 and no prospect of me joining the steelworks where my father had worked. They were difficult times and being out of work had a profound and lasting impact on my life.

Initially I had nowhere to turn and was unemployed for a year. That experience changed my outlook on life forever and gave me the drive and ambition to change my life.

It took me 10 years of studying part time to further my education and get qualified but the most important step I took was enrolling at Derwentside College in 1963. I never looked back and am a passionate supporter of education. I know from personal experience how education can change your outlook on life and I want to encourage as many young people and adult returners to think about doing the same.

I’m delighted to be sponsoring four new special achievement awards from this year, as I also want to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of some of the most dedicated and hard-working students from the College.”

Albert Croney, Principal and Chief Executive of Derwentside College, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sir Bob Murray as our Guest of Honour for this year’s award ceremony. As a former student, Bob has shown the extent of what hard work and dedication can achieve. Our awards evening will showcase the success of students and the on-going support and commitment we provide to a number of local and regional employers. Four-years ago the College worked with 2374 learners and this has risen to over 9000 this year. I am pleased to say that Derwentside College continues to go from strength-to-strength and is supporting more learners and businesses in the region and beyond.”

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