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Trustees Week 2021 – Meet Keith Marsland

The 1st – 5th November 2021 is Trustees Week!

Trustees’ week is an annual event to showcase the great work trustees do and how the dedication they give to charities truly makes a difference. We’d like to take this week to thank all of our Trustees for playing a vital role, volunteering their time, and working together to make important decisions about the work we do here at Rochdale and District Mind. 

If reading our stories this week has inspired you to become a Trustee, take a look at this page. We’re always looking at expanding the skills within our Board

Meet our Vice Chair Keith Marsland…

Married to Carol for 46 years with 3 sons and currently 5 Grandchildren. I was born and raised in Denton on the outskirts of Greater Manchester and attended the local Junior and Secondary Modern schools. Initially, I intended to stay on at school to take formal exams but had a change of heart when an opportunity arose to apply for a technical apprenticeship with Ferranti, who at that time were one of the UK’s leading Engineering companies.
This apprenticeship together with further education provided me with structure and a sound engineering background, that proved invaluable in subsequent years and career roles.

I remained at Ferranti for 25 years and for the main part worked in manufacturing support and management roles, encompassing production engineering, product development, and introducing and embedding innovation and technology developments. The main products were electronic components, assemblies and hardware used in Military and Defence Systems produced by Ferranti and other Defence contractors in the UK and overseas. During my final two years at Ferranti, I was seconded into the Corporate Team to work on company disposals after the company suffered a massive fraud, following the merger with a USA company, however the scale of the fraud led to the ultimate collapse and liquidation of Ferranti, and for me, redundancy.

The main highlights of my time with Ferranti were being part of a team that won a Queens Award to Industry for Innovation and 

working on major contracts such as the Trident II Missile programme, Eurofighter and Areane space programme. Mainly though I benefited from the knowledge and experience I gained from the various roles I had, and the diverse range of people and situations I encountered. I was also fortunate to travel throughout Europe and the USA including visits a US Naval Base in Crane Indiana, to attend sub-contractor meetings. Only in America can a Navel Base be thousands of miles from the sea.

My next employment was with Remploy where I was recruited as Technical Manager to support the development of electronics manufacturing services and capabilities. The company at this stage was moving away from their traditional markets of Textiles, Furniture and Packaging into more modern manufacturing markets. At that time Remploy had 89 sites across the UK and was a Non-Departmental Government Body of the DWP. The enterprise was funded by the commercial activity, and government grants to provide supported employment opportunities for disabled people. The company over the years went through significant restructures and business changes to adapt to developments in Government policy, a changing manufacturing landscape, and disabled groups lobbying to move away from sheltered employment to inclusion in main-stream employment. During my 17 years with the company, I held various positions from Operations Manager to General Manager and ultimately Project & Programme Director. As General Manager I had responsibility for 26 sites operating across three diverse business streams, whilst in the Programme Director role I had responsibility for all the major change programmes and strategic business priorities. Remploy was full of interesting people with a range of disabilities; however, their abilities were far greater, and I was always astounded at the way people adapted and took on the new challenges that came with each business change. What was particularly rewarding was helping and encouraging employees to fulfil their potential and move into management and technical roles and see the benefits of more diverse management teams. Ultimately the Government made the decision to close the factories and focus on expanding the Employment Services part of the organisation, and the sites closed in 2013.

The main highlights of my time with Remploy were winning the Association for Project Management (APM) Programme of the Year 2009 (The Remploy Modernisation Programme) and meeting the Queen when she opened our new Acton factory. I also fulfilled my ambition to study and gain a degree with the OU in Manufacturing Management & Technology.

I was fortunate to be able to take early retirement but was unsure if I could go from having a busy working life, leaving home on a Monday, and returning at the end of the week, to winding down and being at home. That did not happen, I was given a long list of jobs that needed doing in the house and that, combined with the opportunity to travel anywhere at any time, meant I did not dwell too much on seeking further employment. However, I did decide to get involved with Charities and at various times over the past 9 years have worked with SSAFA as a case worker, Trustee at Shared Lives in Stockport, Trustee and Chair at TLC (was Relate Greater Manchester South), Treasurer at Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society and here at Rochdale and District Mind at a Trustee and Deputy Chair. In these roles I have and continue to meet dedicated and talented people who are achieving great things and striving to make change happen.    

My interests outside of work are sport mainly football, reading and travel. When I was at school it was normal to take part in a wide range of sport, so I was a member of the football, rugby cricket and athletics teams. After leaving school I played amateur football at an exceptionally low level, until a broken leg at the age of 26, finished any hopes of following in George Best’s footsteps. I have always believed that team sports are excellent for developing physical and mental health and for developing structure and friendships. I, therefore, encouraged my sons to take up sport, and consequently, I spend many years involved in youth football, as my sons were growing up and playing. Unfortunately, they like me, did not quite have the necessary genes or skills to go further. Amongst the more interesting things I have been fortunate to do, was to have been allowed to spend several hours on the flight simulators at Delta Airlines in America and to have successfully taken off and landed at Las Vegas and Atlanta but failed catastrophically at New York and Washington.     

In summary, my main personal achievement is that of having sound personal relationships, a great family and seeing them grow and flourish and have families of their own. In respect of work-related achievements, I have been fortunate to be part of some incredible teams that, although working in different environments and being focused on achieving different objectives, all had the same characteristics of combining key skills and experience, but having the special ingredient of containing people who naturally worked well together, supported each other in achieving success, but also managing to overcome difficulties by maintaining a sense of humour, and jointly finding a way through.  




Posted on: 1st November 2021

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