Robyn started her maritime career as a Trinity House cadet in 1997, and studied for an HND at, what was then, Glasgow College of Nautical Studies (GCNS).
Sadly, in 1999 her mother lost her battle with cancer and Robyn decided to pursue a shore-based career to enable her to be closer to her father and brother during this difficult time.
Intent on continuing to learn more about the fascinating international shipping industry, Robyn enrolled for a specialist degree programme with Plymouth University. With two years of HND studies behind her and a very supportive set of references provided by Chiltern Maritime and the former head of GCNS, Robyn studied for a BSc (Hons) Maritime Business and Maritime Law.
She wrote her final year dissertation on the topic of the global labour market for seafarers and the rise of China. She travelled to China in the summer holiday between her second and third year to live with a Chinese classmate and to carry out her research – teaching English from the basement of their family run bed and breakfast to fund her trip. She achieved the highest grade in the cohort for her final year dissertation and developed a thirst for academic research, English language teaching and she started learning mandarin Chinese.
The success in her undergraduate dissertation led Robyn to apply for, and be successful in achieving, an Economic and Social Research Council research student scholarship to undertake an MSc and PhD, and English language and higher education teaching qualifications, also through Plymouth University.
Robyn’s higher education journey has taken her to China where, as a PhD student, she carried out research into international maritime conventions, studied Mandarin Chinese and worked as a visiting lecturer in Dalian Maritime University’s School of Navigation. In particular, she focussed her research on the Standards of Certification Training and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, and China’s approach to curriculum design to ensure its officer cadets meet the English language requirements of the STCW.
While in China, Robyn also worked as an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examiner for the British Council in Beijing, travelling the country at weekends to test hopeful students wishing to study overseas, which is a role she continues to fill today. As a visiting lecturer at Dalian Maritime University she taught senior officers and civil servants from China’s Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) on a World Maritime University programme.
Upon returning to the UK, she has worked in Maritime Education and Training at numerous institutions. In 2011 she acted as the programme leader for the MSc International Trade and Transport at London Metropolitan University. In 2012 she moved back to Plymouth University to lead the BSc (Hons) Maritime Business and Maritime Law/Logistics programmes, as well as setting up maritime distance e-learning degrees. She has spent the past year lecturing on the MSc Shipping and Maritime Policy at Cardiff University, as well as supervising maritime students at the Hamburg School of Shipping and Transport, and at Frederick University (Limassol).
In July 2017, Robyn took on the role of Academic Programmes Leader for Logistics and Maritime Management at Liverpool John Moores University, where she is engaged in establishing national standards for maritime industry apprenticeships as part of the Maritime Superskills initiative.