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Deaf apprentice dedicates award achievement to inspiring other young people into the construction industry

A profoundly deaf 21-year-old apprentice at Lovell London has been highly commended at a national construction ceremony and he hopes it will inspire other young people with hearing loss to take up a career in the industry.

Sam Goodbody was recognised at the Youth Builder of the Year ceremony at the House of Commons. The awards celebrate the achievements of young people, who despite having to overcome a range of barriers, have succeeded in gaining employment in the construction industry. Sam’s entry, put forward by Lovell, was singled out from hundreds of entries.

Sam is thought to be one of only a handful of profoundly deaf people working on a construction site in the UK. What makes the achievement all the more remarkable is he’s training on one of the biggest regeneration construction sites in South East London.

Trinity Walk in Woolwich which will see the demolition of 1,064 homes on three estates, replacing them with 1,563 new homes built over seven phases in a 13-year construction programme.  

It has always been Sam’s dream to become an electrician and he is currently successfully working through his NVQ to become fully qualified.

Lovell Training Advisor, Sophia Bruce, has played a significant part in Sam’s opportunity and was determined to do all she could to make it work for Sam on site.

Sophia said: “Obviously from a health and safety point of view it needed all the team on site buying into his situation – not just Lovell staff, but our sub-contractors. We had a series of meetings before Sam started at Trinity Walk, to prepare for him being on site, including a special alarm system being installed.”

Sophia added: “Being deaf and working on a very busy construction site has meant we had to put in a number of provisions to enable Sam to work safely on site including arranging a ‘buddy’ when working away from the site office. We also had his high visibility jacket clearly marked ‘Deaf’ – not to single him out - but to highlight his hearing loss and make other co-workers aware of any potential issue.”

Chris Wallace, construction director at Lovell London, said: “We are obviously delighted for Sam and it’s a real credit to him given the obstacles he has to overcome. We still have a long way to go as an industry to give more people, like Sam, this opportunity.”

Chris added: “One of the Lovell key messages is ‘Changing lives, building opportunities’ and this is a fine example of the authenticity of that objective.”

Commenting on his success at the awards, Sam said: "I am very grateful to Lovell for giving me this opportunity to complete an apprenticeship which I thought was out of my reach. I always wanted to be an electrician ever since I was a young boy.

“I was surprised to be nominated for an award, but I was delighted when I found out I was highly commended, and it made me feel very proud. I hope other young people in similar circumstances to me will feel that they can follow their dreams if they have the support.”

Sam added:  "When I have completed my apprenticeship, I aim to qualify as an electrician and continue working in the construction industry.  I hope that another company will give me the same chance as Lovell. I just want to thank all my colleagues who have supported me over the last two years."

Simon Mantle, from Youthbuild UK, the organisers of the awards, said: “With our core purpose being to celebrate the achievement of young people, who have overcome a range of difficulties in their lives, people like Sam typify what Youthbuild UK is about. 

“All too often we take our senses for granted and with hearing being one of the most frequently used senses in the workplace, Sam is immediately at a disadvantage.  Our view was therefore that Sam should be recognised and congratulated for overcoming this difficulty and realising his ambition of making himself a career in the building industry.”