University of South Wales graduate Luke Rees set to kick-off #UniMentalHealthDay event

Luke Rees, USW graduate and motivational speaker

by Callum Ellis

A USW graduate who harnessed the power of sport to help him transform his life, is sharing his story as part of #UniMentalHealthDay.

Luke Rees, who battled with anxiety and depression throughout his studies, graduated with a first-class honours degree in Sport Leadership and Development.

Departing comprehensive school in 2013 with only four GCSEs, Rees uses his story to help others change.

He has become an award-winning motivational speaker, working with a number of big organisations, including BBC Radio Wales, Media Wales and the Welsh Rugby Union.

Rees’ inspiring story, which he will share with attendees of the event on March 4, has already helped in motivating others to reach their full potential.

CPSU Conference
Rees speaking at the CPSU Youth Conference in London.


The 22-year-old will get the evening underway by opening up about overcoming adversity and the importance of good mental health.

“Being a recent graduate, it’s really important for me that I share the challenges that these students will be facing,” said Rees.

“It’s about bringing to light that we all go through these challenges. We go through stressful periods when it comes to our dissertation.

“For me personally, it’s really important that I am relatable to the audience. Sometimes at university you do feel uncomfortable but that’s normality.”

YA Conf Keynote 2016
Rees at the 2016 Sport Wales Young Ambassador Conference.

Rees admitted he has proved his doubters wrong. He utilised them as motivation during his progression at university,  graduating in July 2018.

“People used to laugh at me when I shared my ambition about going to university.

“My teachers used to question ‘how can you expect to go to university if you can’t make a full day of school?’

“I decided to use that as motivation to prove people wrong.”

Luke Rees - FAB Learner of the year
Rees was announced as the Federation of the Awarding Bodies ‘Learner of the Year’ for his learners journey with Sports Leader UK in 2018.


He hopes his story can continue to inspire others and is aiming to leave a positive mark on the audience.

“I want to get across the message that you have to take responsibility for looking after yourself and caring for other people.

Being at university is a great place to be at because you’re all in it together and all under the same brand. We all try to graduate and finish with the highest grades we can.

“It’s usually the small things such as being nice to people that are often so underestimated when it comes to a university environment.”

Tickets for the event at Treforest are free and can be be claimed here