Luke started his journey at Middlesbrough College as a student on the Sound and Music Technology degree programme. Now, he is working for the College on the other side of the classroom as a Technician & Lecturer for the VPAC department.
Luke always loved the entertainment industry and knew that he wanted to pursue a career in technical theatre after operating the sound and lighting equipment for his secondary school shows. He said: “I was part of a stage school from a young age and worked on all the technical aspects of different productions from pantomimes to musicals, it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed! When choosing my A Levels, Sound and Music Technology was an obvious choice for me, I studied this alongside science and maths, and it was no surprise when I decided to pursue Sound and Music Technology further at degree level.”
At 18 years old, Luke came out as transgender whilst studying for his A Levels at a local Sixth Form. Luke then moved away for University but returned home after experiencing transphobia from a tutor on his course.
After completing a taster day at Middlesbrough College’s University Centre, Luke enrolled on to the Sound and Music Technology degree course and hasn’t left the College since! Luke graduated with a first-class honours degree and was offered a role at Middlesbrough College as a Technician & Lecturer within the VPAC department, teaching on a wide range of programmes from Level 2- degree level modules!
Luke said: “I went away to University and hated it. I had an awful experience. Middlesbrough College supported me back into education and created the safe space that I needed. My tutors supported me and allowed me to just be me! It was exactly what I needed to succeed.
“I loved studying for my degree in Sound and Music Technology at Middlesbrough College’s University Centre. The course was fantastic, and I really enjoyed all the modules I studied. I was thrilled to receive a first-class honours degree and it was wonderful to attend my Graduation to celebrate with my friends, family and tutors.
“I’m delighted to be continuing at the College but in a professional capacity as a staff member. It is strange that my colleagues are my former tutors, but it’s also really cool too! I get to see things from the other side and give back to the College. Everyone at Middlesbrough College was so supportive of me and now I am helping, guiding and supporting students, which is something I love about my role.
“Students have come to me with questions about being transgender which is great. I’m always happy to talk about my experiences with students and with staff- I think it is important to be transparent with people so that they don’t have to be afraid of being who they want to be, and I hope by sharing my story I will be helping others too.
“Education should always be a safe space and Middlesbrough College has a fantastic community that is supportive of everyone. The College offer a LGBT+ staff network, which I’ve joined, and students have the opportunity to join the LGBTQ society which is brilliant! It’s great that the College are providing their community with the chance to form relationships with like-minded people who have shared experiences. At enrolment you can also provide the College with your pronouns and your preferred name which is great to see.
“Middlesbrough College has helped me to grow professionally and personally. The College is an inclusive and amazing safe space for students and staff to be who they are.”