A Regal Reward: Local Education Group Governor Honoured for Services to Education

An RNN Group Governor has been awarded with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his major role in strengthening Further Education.

RNN Group is an education and training provider, meeting the needs of thousands of employers, adults, and school leavers every year. Including Rotherham College, North Notts College, Dearne Valley College, and University Centre Rotherham, it contributes to the ambitions and aspirations of its communities across the Sheffield City Region and East Midlands.

Rob Lawson, who joined the RNN Group’s board last year, was presented with the prestigious prize by HRH Princess Anne during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Rob’s career history includes being the Chair of Governors at Sunderland College. During his eight years in the role, he helped oversee its transformation from a three-campus local college into the regional group Education Partnership North East. This followed its merger with Hartlepool Sixth Form in 2017 and Northumberland College two years later.

He also played a major role in the group undertaking an ambitious programme, including multi-million-pound capital investment, across its six main campuses.

His success saw him appointed a National Leader in Governance for the Department for Education (DfE), working with other Further Education colleges across the country and was also a Reviewer for the DfE’s new governance pilot programme.

Rob’s storied career also includes previous experience as a newspaper editor and current work as a freelance PR consultant.

Outside of work, Rob is a keen cyclist and has helped raise more than £500,000 for Sunderland Football Club’s charity, Foundation of Light, by taking on the charity’s annual international cycle challenges across Europe.

Rob was made an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list, but only recently had been able to receive his award in a presentation by Princess Anne.

Remarking about the special day, Rob said: “I will never forget the time my wife and I enjoyed at Windsor Castle.

“Princess Anne was lovely and recognised the importance of the Further Education sector’s role in addressing the skills needed for the ‘levelling up’ agenda.”

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