Baljit bids farewell after 40 years

Baljit Panesar with his portrait

A lecturer is hanging up his mortarboard after 40 years of dedicated service to the college.

Baljit Panesar has devoted his entire working life to Bradford College and even studied there for five years before joining the staff.

During his time at the college, he has held teaching and managerial posts in a variety of areas including engineering and arts.

Baljit, who is currently Programme Area Leader for Arts, Further Education, joined the college in 1978 as a lecturer in motor engineering. He was inspired to move into teaching by the lecturers who taught him during a five-year apprenticeship in motor engineering.

After six years lecturing in motor engineering, he began lecturing in Multicultural Education and completed a master’s degree in Race Relations and Community Studies.

By 1990, he was promoted to senior lecturer and it was then that he moved into the arts, combining teaching technical drawing with being the equal opportunities coordinator for the School of Art, Design and Textiles. He later became Programme Manager for Visual Arts, then Curriculum Team Leader before taking up his current post three years ago.

Baljit, who will leave the college at the end of this term, was presented with a portrait of himself created by colleagues from Bradford School of Art.

His long service was also recognised with the presentation of a certificate by college chiefs.

“I have been lucky to have been able to work in different subject areas in the college including multicultural education and art and design,” said Baljit, who is the longest-serving member of the current staff and lives in East Morton, Keighley.

“In art and design, I have been inspired by the passion and love the lecturers have for the subject and their specialisms. They have shown that students, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, can progress from level 1 to master’s-level study.

“I have been fortunate, through involvement in a number of overseas British Council-funded projects, to have travelled to places including Bollywood in Mumbai, India, Marks and Spencer’s clothing manufacturing factory in Sri Lanka, University College in South Korea, developing their interior design course and, more recently, Kannur Polytechnic in Kerala, India, developing their Textile technology course.”

The departing education veteran is confident the college has a bright future.

He said: “I believe that the college has played and will continue to play an important role in the community, transforming the lives of the people who become students at Bradford College thereby helping to raise the economic wellbeing of Bradford.

“I would like to thank the Art and Design staff for all their support over the years and for the fine art portrait of me that they have presented to me.

“I wish the college, its staff and students all the best for the future.”