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South West College Apprentice to speak at Major Conference in Westminster

South West College Apprentice to speak at Major Conference in Westminster

Representing Construction Apprentices across the industry, South West College (SWC) Higher-Level Apprentice Luke Emery from Castlederg has been invited to speak at The Federation of Master Builders’ (FMB) Building Conference at Westminster, London on Tuesday 8 November.

Luke is studying an Ulster University Higher Level Apprenticeship Foundation Degree in Construction Engineering at the Omagh Campus which allows him to work four days per week with Lowry Building & Civil Engineering and study one day per week at the College. As a Higher-Level Apprentice (HLA), Luke already has a wealth of academic and practical knowledge and has been invited to speak at the industry wide conference about current issues affecting the construction sector including skills, recruitment, and equality.

The prestigious event sponsored by B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension will bring together over a hundred policy makers, industry stakeholders and Master Builder companies in a live and virtual audience. Luke is excited to have the opportunity to express and share his views and is looking forward to interacting with ministers and other dignitaries about the variety of issues that are currently affecting the building industry.

Speaking about the upcoming achievement, Luke said:

“The opportunity to represent the construction industry on behalf of the Federation of Master Builders, Lowry Building and Civil Engineering as well as SWC is an incredible honour. It will be a fantastic learning experience, to be surrounded by so many knowledgeable people and to hear from experienced speakers from the industry.” 

Prior to this, Luke was invited to speak at the House of Lords at an Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Conference held to help private businesses engage with parliament. The cross-industry event in February, addressed a wide range of challenges, which companies are facing and was attended by a number of industry stakeholders and policy makers.

Luke was handpicked to represent the Construction industry and spoke confidently about the skills shortage in the Construction industry, highlighting the importance of apprenticeships and the skills they provide to help tackle this acute shortage.

Luke’s passion for speaking and shaping policy stems from his positive educational experience, which involved a mix of working, earning, and learning. Luke’s early education was at the Omagh Academy. After deciding A Levels were not for him, he progressed at the College studying a Level 2 in Wood Occupations and subsequently into Higher education.

High achieving Luke also received one of the most prestigious awards in his trade – the coveted ‘UK Apprentice (Award) Apprentice of the Year’ at the FMB Builder Awards in 2021. Luke hailed the apprenticeship route, for giving him the skills, confidence, and opportunity to achieve his goals.

With a construction apprenticeship shortage, he is now keen to shine a light on the value of apprenticeships and hopes to express this at the upcoming FMB Builder Conference.

He said: “The benefits of this route are undeniable, and it is vital that we all join together to highlight this and the importance of promotion, funding, and creation of apprenticeship opportunities to help tackle this shortage.”

Luke’s tutor Coleen Mc Carroll at the College said:

“It is such an honour. Luke is such an inspirational learner in the College. Having won apprentice of the year and then continuing the apprentice programme into Higher Level Education, he is testament of the fabulous work and support the college provides. We are extremely proud and wish him every success in the future.”

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