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Alan Mitchell

Areas of Interest

Engineering, Education

Honorary Award

Honorary Master of Arts, 2001


Alan Mitchell joined the Ford Motor Company as a Student Apprentice. He learned his trade in Engineering before transferring into Education and Training. His association with Anglia Ruskin began in the 1990s when he became involved with Ford's engineering degree programmes and with the ASSET work-based learning research project. In 1995 he invited Anglia Ruskin to take over the role of IT training provider for Ford Britain and to support Ford's Technology Summer School Programme.

In 2001 Alan Mitchell was awarded an Honorary Master of Arts.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Master of Arts degree of the University to Alan R Mitchell, MSc, recently retired from a career with one of the world's leading car-makers (the Ford Motor Company) where he gained a rich experience in mechanical engineering and personnel management.

This award is made in recognition of his consistent support and encouragement for APU, in which context he has worked with APU on a number of projects, in particular the in-house engineering degree programmes and the ASSET work-based learning research project. Also, he invited APU to take on IT Training for (Ford) Britain in the mid-nineties and to support Ford's participation in the UK?s Technology Summer School Programme. He has supported and promoted APU as a first tier supplier of education and training to Ford over a number of years.

Alan Mitchell was a pupil at King Edward VII Grammar School, in King's Lynn before he moved south nearly forty years ago to join the Ford Motor Company initially as a vacation trainee. At this time, he was studying Mechanical and Production Engineering at Enfield College of Technology in the celebrated engineering town where the internationally famous Enfield rifle was developed at the royal small arms factory.

He obtained an HND, HNC in Mechanical Engineering and Production Engineering, respectively and was elected to Graduate Membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. As a Student Apprentice he completed the Company's engineering apprenticeship programme, with assignments in Belfast, Halewood and Dagenham. However, within a few years of successfully completing his apprenticeship, Alan transferred (within Ford) to Education and Training. He moved to Parts Operations as Training Development Specialist to play a role in the enormous relocation operation, from Thurrock and Aveley to Daventry in Northamptonshire, which at that time was Ford's largest, ever, redeployment and retraining project in the UK. Here, he was appointed as Supervisor of Salaried Personnel & Training, with responsibility for all personnel matters for 500 salaried employees.

Alan's career path brought him back to the South-East in the late seventies to take up the post of Salaried Personnel Affairs Planning Co-ordinator, developing new approaches to salaried policy and terms and conditions of employment and he was later appointed to Personnel Information Systems Co-ordinator, launching Ford's first integrated personnel information system. After this he became Supervisor of Salaries Administration with the task of revamping the Company's support systems including the introduction of an across the board generic payroll system. There then followed a move to Basildon Tractor Plant as Manager of Labour Relations, involving day-to-day trade union and employment relations for more than 3,000 employees at Basildon and Thurrock and personnel administration for a further 400. Then in 1989 he was appointed Co-ordinator of Technical Training for Manufacturing in Europe with responsibilities in Ford manufacturing plants throughout Europe.

Finally he was appointed to his most recent and prestigious position of Education and Training Manager at Dunton with lead responsibility for Product Development training in Europe (Dunton has a sister site in Merkenich near Cologne), the provision of IT and business systems training in the UK and the Company's professional Graduate Engineer Development Programme for its British manufacturing and product development Engineers.

During this remarkable career journey of service to Ford employees, Alan became involved, also, with extra-curricula activities like an involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, qualifying as a Mountain leader and part-time youth worker and working as an expedition assessor with Dartmoor and Brecon Beacons expedition panels, besides completing his own MSc in Training, of course, at Leicester University.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer on Alan R Mitchell, MSc, MIPD, AMIMechE, an Honorary Master of Arts degree of this University."