Marshall legend Robin Lipscombe downs tools after 53 years

Marshall legend Robin Lipscombe downs tools after 53 years

For many, last Friday marked the end of an ordinary working week. For Robin Lipscombe, it marked the end of a long and celebrated career of service that changed thousands of young lives.

Only a few people can express their impact on the world in concrete figures, and Robin is one of them - though he is far too modest to ever do so. By the time he clocked out of Marshall’s training workshop on 10 May, 2024, he had racked up 53 years of service, trained 1,400 people, received one MBE, and had one Marshall facility named after him.

Robin joined Marshall in 1971, and made a mark almost immediately when he won the City & Guilds National Award for Vehicle Building Craft Work during his third year as an apprentice. After graduating, he transitioned into a production planner role before being invited to join the training team, where he passed on his exceptional technical hand skills to the next generation for four decades.

On paper, Robin’s job as a trainer may have been to ensure that new apprentices picked up the key hand skills that would form the foundation for their technical careers. In reality, the role Robin played in preparing inexperienced young people for the world of work was, while perhaps less immediately obvious, no less important. For most Marshall apprentices, Robin’s workshop would be the first port of call directly after leaving of a school environment, and the process of adjusting to the routines, responsibilities and soft skills of the working world was not always straightforward.

Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of former apprentices - many still with Marshall - who credit Robin for their personal growth during this formative stage in their careers. It is also unsurprising that in 2023 Robin was recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours List, receiving an MBE for his exceptional impact on the community by providing thousands of young engineers and technicians with the solid foundations necessary for successful careers.

In honour of Robin's achievements, Marshall organised a retirement celebration and farewell in the Lipscombe Mascall Workshop - a facility named in Robin’s honour when it opened last year. Colleagues and apprentices, both past and present, shared fond memories of Robin, extending their best wishes and expressing gratitude for his profound impact on their careers.

“Working alongside a legend like Robin been an absolute honour and privilege for all of us,” said Dan Edwards, General Manager for Marshall’s skills academy.

“It’s rare to find someone who dedicates their entire career to one employer, and we’re incredibly proud that Robin chose to do so with us at Marshall.”

Many of the day’s stories and memories about Robin centred around his teaching partnership with Keirron Mascall, a retired colleague of over four decades. Robin and Keirron were well known for their “good cop/bad cop” dynamic, especially when it came to their high standards for apprentice work. In some cases, one or the other would cut subpar work to pieces with a bandsaw - a seemingly harsh gesture that nonetheless proved to be an effective teaching method.

Even now, “cutting up” is fondly remembered by former Marshall apprentices, many of whom still preserve their surviving works as trophies in attics and storage rooms across the country.

“We have always tried to give our apprentices the best support and training that we possibly can here at Marshall,” said Robin at last week’s event.

“We always try to ensure that our young people don’t just come out of training having gained the right skills to succeed, but that along the way they emerge a better person.”

“I am very proud of the many years that I have been with Marshall and I am truly grateful for this wonderful send off.”

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