VIP visitors pay tribute to business support for ‘role model’ Ron Dearing UTC
A group of VIP visitors have paid tribute to the business backing for Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) after being given a tour of the pioneering school’s purpose-designed building.
The high-profile group was given a personal tour of the £10m building, which is nearing completion, by Principal Sarah Pashley and Chair of Trustees, Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman of one of the UTC’s Founding Partner employers, Hull-based specialist engineering business Spencer Group.
The visit was combined with a tour of the huge Energy Works green energy power plant in Hull, which has been developed by Spencer Group, as the group saw two of the most significant projects currently being delivered in the city and wider region.
The group included Alan Johnson, the former Hull West and Hessle MP, who championed the cause of establishing Hull’s first UTC; Lord Haskins, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership Chair; Finbarr Dowling, former Hull Project Director for another UTC Founding Partner, Siemens; and Paul Sewell OBE, Executive Chair of Sewell Group, whose construction arm is delivering the new school.
The visitors were given an exclusive insight into the UTC’s state-of-the-art learning spaces and facilities, including dedicated zones for digital technology, design, project development and testing.
Mrs Pashley and Mr Spencer also explained how the school, its facilities and curriculum had been specifically designed with the UTC’s employer partners to support the development of tech-savvy young people with the skills and qualifications leading local businesses need to drive forward the region’s economy.
Mr Johnson, a former Education Secretary, said the exciting vision for Hull’s first employer-led school was now becoming reality.
He said: “The vision for the UTC is perfect for Hull, but having the vision and putting it into effect are different things entirely.
“The leadership shown by Sarah and the way that so many businesses have come together to support the school is why I believe this won’t just be a great UTC, but a role model for the rest of the country.”
Lord Haskins paid tribute to the deep commitment to the UTC from its business backers.
He said: “I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen but, at the same time, it’s typical of what’s happening in Hull at the present time. It’s a wonderful story.
“This UTC adds a new dimension to the region’s skills agenda. The key thing is the business support the UTC has got. One of the main challenges of the skills agenda generally is getting businesses involved, but the UTC has certainly got business behind it and that’s a great thing to build on.
“I wish other schools and colleges had the support that this place has.”
CAPTION: Pictured in the conference centre at Ron Dearing UTC’s state-of-the-art building are, from left, Alan Johnson, Sarah Pashley, Finbarr Dowling, Lord Haskins, Charlie Spencer OBE, Paul Sewell OBE and Councillor Julia Conner.
Mr Dowling, who led the team that established world-class and world-scale wind power manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations in Hull, before moving to a new role as Operations Director for Siemens Rolling Stock, echoed the sentiments.
He said: “When Alan Johnson approached us to get involved my gut feeling was that this was part of a perfect storm of great things happening in Hull and that the city was crying out for this type of school.
“It’s all very well thinking that, but it’s very gratifying to see it all coming together and to see the school over-subscribed with such a high calibre of the staff. It’s all set to be a fantastic success and a great example of the renaissance of Hull.”
Ron Dearing UTC is due to open on September 11 next to the redeveloped Hull New Theatre in Hull city centre with an initial intake of 220 students. The school will grow to a capacity of 600 students, aged 14 to 19, by September 2020.
The school will combine academic excellence with a curriculum focused on the specialisms of digital technology and mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering – to create a new pipeline of much-needed technical talent.
Students will study towards professional qualifications identified by the employer sponsors as those most in demand by industry, enabling them to get the edge over others in the competition for jobs.
As part of the UTC’s unique curriculum, students will work on real-world projects designed by the Founding Partners. On successful completion of their studies they will be offered a guaranteed interview with the employer sponsors or a conditional offer from the University of Hull.
The UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull, KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group.