Everyone at Learning and Work Institute is deeply saddened that Duncan Melville, our Chief Economist, passed away on Sunday 9th January 2022.
Duncan was driven by his commitment to social justice. The question he was always seeking to answer was ‘how can we best help people?’ Work was very important to Duncan, as well as his well-known love of football, family and friends. He was a hugely valued, respected and popular colleague and friend. We are shocked and saddened by Duncan’s death, but proud to have known him.
Duncan spent almost seven years as our Chief Economist, having started at our predecessor organisation the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion in July 2014. Duncan’s commitment to his field of expertise is a key legacy. He did all he could to influence and change the lives of others for the better. He was responsible for sector-leading work, including monthly analysis of new labour market data, evaluations of employment and skills programmes, and countless reports and projects on helping more people access good work and progression opportunities.
His commitment to social justice ran through his whole career, including roles in HM Treasury, consultancy, and at the Greater London Authority. In all of these roles, Duncan put his skills to use to find the best ways to give everyone a fair chance in life. Duncan’s insight and work not only benefited others in society but all the people that worked closely with him. Whether you’d known him for a short or long time, and whatever your role, you could go to Duncan with a question and never feel silly asking it. He had a vast amount of skill and expertise and would always take the time to share his knowledge and advice. He cared deeply about developing the skills of those around him.
Duncan was a valued colleague and friend to so many of us – at L&W and across the sector. He was an important member of our Senior Management Team, helping to provide leadership to the organisation. And he was at the heart of life in the office, always ready with a tongue in cheek speech whenever an important staff occasion arose – weddings, leaving do’s, baby showers. Duncan’s other passion was his football and we all lived the twists and turns of him being a Spurs fan. He had a larger-than-life presence in the office and an often-mischievous sense of humour, but he was also supportive and protective of his colleagues. He proved himself to be a good listener as well as generous with his time when colleagues needed him. He, in return, was genuinely moved by the friendships that he made at work. It meant the world to him and to us.
Despite being unwell over the past 12 months, Duncan remained committed to his work. His loss is felt very deeply by us all at L&W and beyond – he will be missed by so many. His work, character and friendship will always be remembered by all of us, and our thoughts go to Duncan’s family, to whom we send our heartfelt sympathies.