I attended a Church Primary School and entered the local Secondary Modern School after failing the 11+. At the age of 15 I received technical training in the workshops of Birmingham University’s engineering department and gained craft and technical certificates before entering National Service with the RAF.
By then, my now well-known father, was Chief Shop Steward at The Austin Motor Company. But fate was about to direct me towards an undergraduate sponsorship in the same company, where after graduation, my junior management role as a Process Automation Engineer started to conflict with my father’s views on the introduction of factory automation. After three years it became obvious one of us had to leave.
I subsequently gained a lectureship at the new University of Aston where I developed a successful academic and research career and was awarded a PhD in 1976. Fate was to intercede once again when I emulated his trade union role after leading an illegal picket of lecturers to oppose the Thatcher governments retrenchment in universities in 1982. This successfully saved many academic jobs but placed my own career in jeopardy so I took a job as Head of Engineering at Salford Royal Technical College.
At Salford I successfully turned round an outdated academic department and brought it into the new technological era. This success led me to Leeds Polytechnic where I re-invigorated several failing departments as Dean of Information and Engineering Systems. I retired from its successor institution, Leeds Metropolitan University in 1994 at the age of 60.
I have since devoted my time to local education projects, my professional body the IEE/IET and to technical and creative writing. Somewhere along this route I also found time to stand as the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Halesowen & Stourbridge, my home town; narrowly losing in the ‘Thatcher Landslide’ of 1979