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Dan Hogben right with Caddick Construction Site Manager Brad Crawford

Dan takes T Level pathway after kidney disease ended hopes of football career with Hull City

A York College student who saw his promising football career come to an end after being diagnosed with kidney disease is rebuilding his life on a Construction T Level course.

Dan Hogben, from Barmby Moor in York, was 16 when he was told that one of his kidneys was only 13 per cent functional.

He was on course to land a scholarship with former Premier League club Hull City at the time but was told by doctors that he would have to give up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

In 2022, the second year of Dan’s A Levels was then interrupted when the chance of a transplant arose after his mum Alison donated one of her own kidneys to another person in a swap as part of a share scheme.

After recovering from the surgery, Dan then decided he wanted to pursue a different pathway to A Levels and, following a discussion with a staff member, he decided the college’s T Level in Design, Surveying and Planning would provide him with best route towards a career in engineering.

T Levels are the technical-based qualifications launched by the Government in 2020.

They are regarded as an alternative academic route to A Levels and also incorporate 315 work placement hours.

Now in the second year of his course, Dan has impressed his placement employers Caddick Construction so much that he celebrated National Apprenticeship Week this week by being interviewed for a Site Engineering Degree Apprenticeship with the property developer group.

If successful, Dan would then carry on working for the company, who would also pay for him to gain a degree-level qualification on day release at the same time.

It might not be the career goal the promising young footballer had his sights set on when he was out on the pitch representing Hull, but Dan admits he was always realistic about the prospects of becoming a top pro in the sport and took education seriously, knowing that engineering would be a very appealing fallback plan.

Dan’s story has previously been told on TV presenter Steph McGovern’s Channel 4 show “Steph’s Packed Lunch” in May of last year, but he is moving quickly on to the next chapter now with the help of his T Level course.

Dan Hogben playing for Hull City Academy

Reflecting on his inspiring journey, Dan said: “I was hoping that I was going to have a career in football with Hull City but, even without the transplant, I always knew that statistically only something like one per cent of academy footballers have a professional career in the game, so I always had a back-up plan and took education seriously, especially anything to do with engineering.

“I had my kidney transplant when I was meant to be doing my A Levels, so I could have gone back to school and done an extra year, but I went back for a day and decided it wasn’t for me. I wanted a change and to do something more practical to help me get into a job, so I spoke to somebody from the team at York College and told them I wanted to go into civil or structural engineering.

“I was advised to enrol on this course and I am so pleased now that I was introduced to T Levels. I was always interested in engineering at school and construction is also such a good industry to get into, so it seemed an ideal way of putting the two together.

“The 315 workplace hours appealed to me a lot as did the fact that a lot of the exams are coursework and practical assessments. I’ve also managed to work more hours as the company paid me to work with them during the summer holidays too.”

Working with Caddick on one of the largest Passivhaus projects in the UK is also future-proofing Dan’s skills as the industry moves towards a more sustainable way of constructing buildings.

The site, next to Burnholme Sports Centre, plans to house 78 new net-zero properties, meaning Dan now has first-hand experience of the challenges that must be overcome by site teams, sub-contractors and consultants to meet that commitment.

On the value of T Levels for employers and Dan’s contribution to the company and work site, Debbie Watson, Caddick Construction Social Value Manager for Yorkshire, said: “I think T Levels are an excellent introduction to an apprenticeship as the students are being exposed to many different roles on the site. It is also beneficial for the employer as it enables us to get to know the student better over a two-year period and look at their attendance, punctuality and enthusiasm to learn to gauge whether we want to continue working with the student through an apprenticeship.

“Dan has proved himself to be hugely helpful to the site team. He has now completed all his mandatory hours, and we are continuing to pay him for his time throughout the second year of his studies.”

For a list of current York College Apprenticeship vacancies, please click here

You can also learn more about apprenticeships at the college’s next Open Event on Tuesday, March 19 (5.30pm to 8pm). To register a place, please click here