FARMER Bob Shaw has returned to his roots to teach the next generation of farmers.

He has joined East Durham College as an agricultural lecturer at the Houghall campus in Durham where he was once a student himself.

Mr Shaw will deliver a new range of land-based short courses, including sheep shearing, dry stone walling, small holding and lambing. The courses are open to those aged 16 and over. He will also teach level one and two full-time agriculture students.

Mr Shaw, 58, said: “I was born less than a mile from Houghall. I attended school just half a mile from here too and while I was there, I used to come here on day release and took every course I could in agriculture.

“Forty years later, I’m back at the Houghall campus! It’s my time now to give something back – I’ve learned a lot during my career and I’m excited to teach everything I can to everyone on one of our courses.”

Mr Shaw always wanted to be a farmer, and over his 40-year career, has worked around the world including Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and France.

He has also owned his own farm business, which employed 28 people and which, in one year, lambed over 50,000 sheep.

As part of his previous work, Mr Shaw was selected as Farming Ambassador for the North-West, where he was trained to speak publicly about farming-related issues to increase awareness among the general public.

He said: “I’ve had a good career in farming, it’s my time to turn it around and put back what I’ve learned by teaching at Houghall.

“I’m extremely passionate that it’s not always farmers’ sons and daughters who make the best farmers; you can come from any walk of life and find success in the farming industry.

“Farming is so diverse – you could go into anything from lambing and sheep shearing to the fashion industry, supplying wool and leather.

“I hope to encourage people from all walks of life to consider a career in agriculture. If someone has an interest, there’s a job for them in the farming industry.”

East Durham College recently invested £13.25m redeveloping Houghall, which included a modern new pig unit, a new cattle unit with six large pens, and a forage store to supplement the existing sheep unit on the original farm site.

For more information on its new land-based short courses, visit or call Student Services on 0191 518 8222.