Aspiring footballer who suffered brain injury builds new career in construction

This year’s intake of apprentices at City Building

AN aspiring footballer who almost died following a head injury sustained on the pitch is constructing a new future as a City Building apprentice.

Mitchell Hughes (16), from Cardonald, is among 60 new apprentices recently appointed by the Glasgow-based construction business.

He showed a talent for football from a young age but his desire to become a professional diminished in 2021 when, at the age of 15, he suffered a head injury after he took a header on the pitch. The incident resulted in three mental plates being fitted in his skull and a warning from the acting neurosurgeon that the accident would have been fatal if he had reached the hospital just 10 minutes later.

Mitchell experienced poor memory and balance issues after his surgery and now suffers severe pain, particularly when flying due to the pressure. He also has a large facial scar following his injury.

He said, “I think sometimes people see a young guy and think the scar is because of something bad, so I am happy to talk to them about what happened. I am proud of my scar – it’s a reminder of what I survived!”

After attending a pre-apprenticeship course at Cardonald College, Mitchell realised his new passion was plumbing. He explained, “I was buzzing to get an apprenticeship at City Building! I’m really excited to get started and learn the ins and outs of the trade from the best.”

City Building recently welcomed its 2022 cohort of apprentices to the organisation’s new training college in Springburn.

Councillor Alex Kerr, chair of City Building (Glasgow) LLP, said, “Congratulations to all our successful candidates joining City Building as apprentices. The business has a great track record of developing the next generation and many apprentices are retained after they have acquired their qualifications. The construction industry needs fresh talent more than ever. The skills our new apprentices learn will be crucial to making our buildings more sustainable and achieving Glasgow’s ambitions of becoming net zero.”

Another apprentice in the new intake whose path to City Building was prompted by football is 17-year-old Alexander McAuley. Alexander, who is specialising in plumbing, joined the firm following a course at the Celtic Foundation, which works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them access a brighter future through a mixture of mental health support, football training, and educational courses.

Alexander was attracted to construction after being encouraged to take part in a National Progression Award at Glasgow Kelvin College. He applied to City Building after receiving support from his team members. He said, “For the first time, I felt like I was part of a unit. It was a turning point for me. I was over the moon when I found out that I got onto the apprenticeship course at City Building. Everyone in my family was very proud.

“I think it goes to show that no matter the circumstances if you don’t give up you will get there in the end.”