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Personal profile


I am currently Professor of Education at the University of Huddersfield, where I have worked since 2004. My work focuses on a range of social, economic and educational questions including contemporary and historical education policy; the political economy of education and training; and education and social justice. I am, however, perhaps best known for my research into youth unemployment and the lives marginalized young people, especially those categorised as NEET (not in education, employment or training) or vulnerable to becoming NEET. I am currently working with colleagues from Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and the UK on the Erasmus+ funded project Improving Transitions, Enabling Results focused on improving vocational learning opportunities for NEET young people. 

I am co-author of two books on marginalised youth: NEET Young People and Training for Work published by Trentham in 2011, and Education, Work and Social Change published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. My latest book, Education and Working-Class Youth, co-edited with John Smyth, from Federation University, Australia, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. I have also written numerous reports, commentaries and research papers on the lives of NEET young people, including work published in leading academic journals.

I have acted as principal investigator and co-investigator on a range  of significant research projects, including work funded by the Higher Education Academy, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Raymond Williams Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and the Society for Educational Studies. Methodologically, I am interested in using critical policy analysis, ethnography and other qualitative methods to examine the lived experience of teachers, learners, guidance workers and other practitioners, particularly those working with young people on the margins of education and employment.

I have worked with voluntary groups, trade unions, think tanks and organisations such as Unicef and the EU on questions of education and training for young people. I am an experienced media commentator on questions of youth employment, education and the economy, and I have taken part in a number of television and radio debates on such matters, including programmes broadcast on BBC1 and Radio 4. I have also been a keynote speaker at numerous professional and academic conferences including events in London, Edinburgh, Oxford, Belfast, Dublin, Copenhagen and Sofia.

I am an editorial board member of two leading academic journals: Research in Post-Compulsory Education and the Journal of Further and Higher Education and have acted as a referee for 28 academic journals. I have refereed funding applications for funding bodies based in the UK, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Currently, I am external examiner for adult education programmes at the National University of Ireland, Galway; previously I have been a course examiner at the Universities of Bolton and Ulster. I am also an experienced supervisor and examiner of doctoral theses and have examined research degrees at the Universities of Bristol, Bolton, Huddersfield, Lincoln, Portsmouth, Southampton, Staffordshire and Worcester. I am former course leader of the University of Huddersfield’s Doctor of Education (EdD) programme.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Education policy
  • The political economy of education
  • Education and social justice
  • Educational and labour market experiences of marginalised youth, and those of teachers, support workers and other practitioners working with young people


  • Lifelong Learning
  • Vocational Training
  • Education Policy
  • Political Economy of Education
  • Education
  • Social Justice
  • Marginalised Youth
  • Educational Experiences
  • Labour Market Experience
  • Teachers
  • Support Workers
  • Young People

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Robin Simmons is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 63 Similar Profiles
further education Social Sciences
education Social Sciences
compulsory education Social Sciences
learning Social Sciences
working class youth Social Sciences
teacher Social Sciences
teacher training Social Sciences
experience Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2006 2019

Career planning and continuing professional development

Simmons, R. & Walker, M., 2019, Teaching in Lifelong Learning: A Guide to Theory and Practice . Avis, J., Fisher, R. & Thompson, R. (eds.). Third Edition ed. London: Open University Press, p. 263 - 272 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

career planning

The Historical Experience of Liberal Studies for Vocational Learners in Further Education

Simmons, R., 2 Jan 2019, In : British Journal of Educational Studies. 67, 1, p. 59-76 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
further education
history of education
Vocational Education
further education
university teacher

Class, Dispositions and Radical Politics - a Rejoinder

Smyth, J. & Simmons, R., Dec 2018, In : Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies. 16, 3, p. 185-193 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
working class youth
social class

Education and social class: how did we get to this and what needs to change?

Simmons, R. & Smyth, J., 29 May 2018, Education and Working-Class Youth: Reshaping the Politics of Inclusion. Simmons, R. & Smyth, J. (eds.). Basingstoke, p. 233-259 27 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

social class
working class youth

Activities 2013 2019

Former YTS trainees' historical experiences of the Youth Training Scheme

Robin Simmons (Speaker)
30 Jun 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Disappearing Colleges: revisiting the abolition of the colleges of education

Robin Simmons (Speaker)
13 Feb 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

External Examiner

Robin Simmons (Examiner)
1 Sep 201831 Aug 2022

Activity: Examination typesPhD Examination

From Architectural Policymaking to Organic Change - Revisiting the Abolition of the Colleges of Education

Robin Simmons (Speaker)
8 Jul 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

12th Journal of Vocational Education and Training Conference

Robin Simmons (Chair)
7 Jul 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

Press / Media

UTCs Give Young People the Skills to do the Job: Overcoming the Academic-Vocational Divide

Robin Simmons


2 items of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

The Changing Face of Youth Culture in the UK

Robin Simmons


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment