Who We Are

President: The Rt Hon. the Baroness Smith of Basildon

AS - head and shouldersAngela Smith joined the House of Lords in July 2010, having previously been the MP for Basildon for 13 years. She is currently the Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, having previously held a number of posts in Government and Opposition including Minister of State at the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the Third Sector and Social Exclusion.

Outside of Parliament Angela is involved in a number of charities and voluntary organisations, currently Chair of the Production Exchange, Chair of Resolving Chaos, Ambassador of the Royal Voluntary Service, Vice President of the League against Cruel Sports and Vice President of the Local Government Association.


Chair: Stephen Ratcliffe

16-YBUK-6606Stephen has worked in the construction industry for nearly 20 years.  He was until recently Director of the UK Contractors Group, a trade body for major contractors and director of its sister body the Scottish Contractors Group.  Previously he was Chief Executive of the Construction Confederation and director of the Major Contractors Group.  He was also a board member of CSCS (the Construction Skills Competency Scheme). Stephen also worked in government for over 20 years and now works as a consultant providing help to people seeking to strengthen their public relationships, especially with government.   Before becoming a Trustee of Youthbuild UK, he was the Chair of the Young Builder of the Year Awards Judging panel for 5 years.


Deputy Chair: Joe Brennan

Joe BrennanJoe’s grassroots beginnings in the construction industry as an apprenticed carpenter with Bovis, have held him in good stead to this day. After enjoying a successful period of using his carpentry and building skills, running his own business, Joe returned to his studies and altered direction, gaining teaching qualifications.

A combination of his construction industry experience and teaching skills led Joe into construction training, working with Wimpey, Carillion, and the Notting Hill Housing Group, amongst others. Joe has extensive experience in designing and delivering construction training programmes; programmes aimed at, ex-offenders, long term unemployed and young people to name but a few. Joe is currently a director of Denbre Ltd, a consultancy specialising in employment and training.


Secretary: John Leicester

John LeicesterRetired from the post of National Education Development Manager, Barnardo’s Children’s Services in 2010 – a qualified teacher and social worker with a background in special education. A keen supporter and advocate of alternative / vocational education as a tool to engage the disaffected – using construction skills / craftsmanship training to find areas where young people can succeed and raise their self-esteem / confidence so that they can take their place in the working world. Such training is as vital to the economy as academic qualifications.

Trustee: Miriam Lewis

Miriam LewisShe is currently Leader of Maldon District Council and has had a long association with the construction industry firstly with Carillion then Skanska. For 16 years she has worked at the forefront of the employment and training agenda, primarily with the long term unemployed. She is a founding trustee of the Youthbuild UK and Essex Youthbuild in addition to being a national Diploma Champion.

Trustee: Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O'Connor_TO USEKevin is the Head of Social Responsibility and Inclusion at Durkan Limited, he started in the construction industry as a labourer for a flat roofer – his dad. He has spent time in public sector housing management at Welwyn Hatfield, and was an active trade unionist supporting career development and ‘trainability’. Following a return to education, he entered the voluntary sector working with street homeless alcohol and drugs services in North London. Kevin joined community contractor Durkan for 13 years ago and following a series of site and office-based roles now heads up all aspects of social value and inclusion – including managing their apprenticeship and training programmes. He has a particular interest in mental health policy and has been a volunteer for MIND for the past three years.


Trustee: David Pearce

16-YBUK-6598David is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Built Environment and Energy at Leeds Beckett University, he is very involved with Constructing Excellence and the CIOB in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Trustee: Livia Williams

Livia WilliamsLivia is the Head of Training for the National Federation of Roofing Contractors and the Training Manager for the Roofing Industry Alliance, she is also a Board Director of the Institute of Roofing and Co-Founder of the Women in Roofing. With over 18 years roofing industry experience, Livia has a wealth of experience and knowledge, she is dedicated to supporting the roofing industry at strategic level through the development of apprenticeships, training, management and qualifying the workforce. Furthermore, Livia is actively involved in promoting fairness, inclusion and respect in construction industry and empower women in roofing through creating a common platform to meet, share best practice, develop career progression routes, coaching and mentoring.


General Manager: Howard Platts

16-YBUK-6608Group Training Officer, CAGE Greater Nottingham, that seeks to fill the skills gap in the construction industry, promote construction as a career to schools and colleges whilst supporting its’ own members to continually up-skill their workforce. Previously managed Action Trust and Spark Challenge which supported homeless people into employment, and Chief Executive of NECTA, a construction training company providing vocational training to disadvantaged young people. Before moving into social enterprise he held senior finance and general management positions, mainly, in the engineering sector.

Youth Build UK Patrons’ Event in the river rooms at the House of Lords. Westminster. London. UK. 9th March 2017.