Professor Willey graduated with a BSc in Physics in 1967 and a PhD in Material Science in 1971.

Prof WilleyHe believes Swansea University provided him with an excellent grounding in Science and Technology which has enabled him to successfully develop and then manage a multimillion pound business based on his University research. Professor Willey has donated a substantial amount to the Student Hardship Fund in the hope that students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have academic excellence paired with the raw ambition to succeed are able to make a difference to the world.

His Story:

“I was born in the Rhondda Valley and came to Swansea University from a very underprivileged and humble background, with no one from my family having ever attending University or attempting A levels! Being the first in line it was difficult. However, I was a keen sportsman, and the friends I made through this activity fortunately aided me through any difficult patches. As I progressed through my six years of study things became easier and I developed an excellent grounding in Science and Technology. I entered business full time in 1998 and am currently Managing Director of the ACS Group of Companies.  The business is based in Glasgow but my team and I have lectured and worked in the UK, Europe, Turkey, Canada, USA, India, Africa, Australia, the Falkland Islands and Japan.

Through academia I was responsible for the development of significant research programmes into the detection and recognition of asbestos fibres, the effectiveness of respiratory protection against airborne asbestos and the control of risk from asbestos contaminated land. My work was published in International Research Journals and presented at international conferences. Furthermore it led to changes in asbestos regulations in the UK which are thought to be saving at least 100 lives per year in the asbestos removal industry. Following the introduction of Regulation 4 (The “duty to manage”) in the Asbestos Regulations in 2002, I worked very closely with the HSE in the development of training packages to introduce the new concepts. I was instrumental in the establishment of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) in 2008. I have received the IOSH President’s Distinguished Service Award and the prestigious Award for Meritorious Endeavours in Environmental Health, presented by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS).   I am proud of what I have achieved with basic intelligence, raw ambition and most importantly an excellent educational base for which I am most grateful to Swansea University.”

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