Bob’s progress at school was hindered by a childhood accident and he left school with just one O’ Level. The baby boom in the immediate aftermath of the war meant that there were twice as many people looking for work in 1961 and there was no prospect of him joining the local steelworks at Consett where his father worked. They were difficult times and being out of work had a significant and lasting impact on his life.
Initially he had nowhere to turn and was unemployed for a year. That experience changed Bob’s outlook on life forever and gave him the driving ambition to change his life and succeed.
He started by enrolling for evening classes four nights a week at Consett Technical College to further his education.
He recalls, “It was a hard time in my life and I knew I never wanted to be unemployed or feel like that again. The experience had a profound effect on my life. I missed out on my youth and between the ages of 15 and 25 when all my friends were out every night, I was in studying.”