Ron Dearing supplies Spencer Group with 14 young stars

No less than 14 former Ron Dearing UTC students have begun apprenticeships with leading engineering business Spencer Group.

The recruits from Ron Dearing UTC are the largest intake of young talent in the 30-year history of the Hull-based company.

Spencer Group is one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners and hiring so many new trainees is a huge vote of confidence in Ron Dearing UTC.

Nine of the school leavers have begun apprenticeships in Engineering, while two are Apprentice Plant Fitters; one is an IT Support Apprentice; one a Web Development Apprentice; and another a Commercial Apprentice.

They begin their new roles as Ron Dearing UTC urges students who would like to join the school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020 to attend the next Open Event with their parents on Thursday, November 7.

Apprentice Engineer Evie Westoby, 18, said: “I’m really happy to have this opportunity. I hope I can go as far as I can through my work and continuing education, complete my apprenticeship and work my way up through the company.

“When you join a new company it’s quite nerve-racking because you don’t know the people you’ll be working with, but the fact that we’ve all come together is great because there are familiar faces around you.

“I’m really glad I decided to go to Ron Dearing UTC. I don’t think I would be where I am now without the school’s support.”

Spencer Group Executive Chairman Charlie Spencer OBE with Human Resources Director Yvonne Moir, left, Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley and the company’s intake of 14 apprentices.


Apprentice Web Developer Matty Hunt, also 18, has joined the company’s Spencer Online System team, after a successful work placement last summer.

He said: “The chances Ron Dearing has given us have been amazing. We’ve worked on projects with the employer partners and had great work experience opportunities. I’ve tried to take as many opportunities as I possibly could and they’ve all definitely paid off.”

Matty said he was really pleased his parents had encouraged him to switch to Ron Dearing UTC two years ago when the school opened. “I’ve come out way more confident, more sociable and more professional,” he added.

Spencer Group Human Resources Director Yvonne Moir, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, said: “We’ve got to know the students at Ron Dearing UTC really well over the past two years and have been able to see them grow and develop.

“It wasn’t our intention to take so many originally but, once we started the apprenticeship recruitment process, it was clear that there was so much talent to choose from.

“We could have recruited even more if we had the capacity and it’s been such a difficult decision to select the successful students. The school has produced so many outstanding young employees.”

  • The next Ron Dearing UTC Open Event for prospective students and their parents will run from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 7. To register, or to apply for a place at the school in September 2020, visit for more information.

Apprentices begin digital careers with Arco

Two former students from Ron Dearing UTC are forging ahead in digital apprenticeship roles at the UK’s leading safety company.

Hull-based Arco, one of the employer-led school’s Major Partners, has recruited Josh Thorpe as a Cyber Security Apprentice and Jay Richards as a Systems Developer Apprentice.

Josh, 18, who achieved a Distinction* and Distinction in his Computing technical qualifications at Ron Dearing UTC, as well as a Merit in Creative Digital, said the school had prepared him for his new role helping to keep Arco’s digital systems secure.

He said: “I hope to learn how big businesses defend themselves against security threats and what methods can be used to keep track of everything to make sure it’s secure.

“Ron Dearing UTC has prepared me for this because it’s more practical-based learning. Everything you learn is relevant to the workplace.”

Jay, also 18, who achieved three Distinctions in Computing, said he was already working on a digital programme to boost Arco’s efficiency.

He said: “I’m making a programme which can help some of the team leaders add information into a spreadsheet automatically, without having to do it by hand.

“Ron Dearing UTC helped me to put what I know into practice and adapt that for Arco. I’m really looking forward to the future at Arco and seeing where it takes me.”

Apprentices Josh Thorpe, left, and Jay Richards with Arco Head of IT Dan Spurgeon, second left, and Digital Director Richard Martin.


Dan Spurgeon, Head of IT at Arco, said: “During Josh’s second day here, he attended meetings with us about e-mail phishing, adding his own fresh ideas. I don’t think we would have got that from someone who had years of industry moulding.

“We’re always keen to fit people into our culture and both Josh and Jay have been on our ‘Arco Experience’, which has helped them understand how the business was founded and has grown and how we work as a collective. They’re both integrating really well.”

Richard Martin, Digital Director at Arco, who is also a Governor at Ron Dearing UTC, said Ron Dearing UTC provided a different approach to learning, preparing students to fit into the world of work rapidly.

He said: “It’s a completely unique way of schooling which fills a gap that has been missing in education for a long time. The hope is those who come to us as apprentices have spent so much time with us already that they hit the ground running.

“They come with bags of enthusiasm and they’re ready to crack on. They are treated as adults at school, rather than children, and as a result we’re getting people with an adult attitude.”

Ron Dearing UTC is inviting students who want to join the school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020 to attend the next Open Event on Thursday, November 7. Attendees will be able to have a look around the school, meet current and former students, speak to staff and take part in various workshops.

To register for the event, which runs from 6pm to 8pm, or to apply to join the school, click here.

Hannah and Sam go from school to Smith + Nephew

Studying at Ron Dearing UTC has enabled Hannah Crossley and Sam Graham to begin their working careers as Engineering Apprentices with Smith + Nephew.

Hannah and Sam, who are both 18, have joined the global medical technology business as Apprentice Manufacturing Technicians.

Smith & Nephew, a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has major manufacturing and research and development facilities in Hull, and Hannah and Sam are beginning their careers with the company as Ron Dearing UTC is encouraging prospective students and their parents to attend the school’s next Open Event on Thursday, November 7.

Hannah Crossley has joined Smith + Nephew from Ron Dearing UTC, where she achieved a Distinction in Engineering.


Hannah, who achieved a Distinction in Engineering at Hull’s employer-led school, said: “Ron Dearing UTC has prepared me really well for this.

“By working for Smith + Nephew, I can join a team which will make a huge difference in the world because of the products they make. To have the opportunity to be part of that is breathtaking.”

Sam Graham said the employer-led approach to learning at Ron Dearing UTC had helped him to secure an apprenticeship with Smith + Nephew.


Sam, who achieved two Merits in Engineering and a further Merit in Digital Technology at Ron Dearing UTC, said the approach to learning at the school had pushed him to aim high.

He said: “At Ron Dearing everyone is on first name terms and the staff treat you like adults, which has helped me to become more confident and I know I have made the right decision to go down the apprenticeship route. I’m so excited and it’s a privilege to work for a big company such as Smith & Nephew.”

Gary Carr, Smith + Nephew Production Manager, said: “Hannah and Sam have grown in confidence already and will fit in really well with us.

“They have shown they have the right attitude and approach, as well as a level of determination you don’t usually see in young adults.

“They are evidence that the unique partnership between employers and educators at Ron Dearing UTC really does give students the edge in terms of their employability and specialist skills.  I’m impressed.”

  • Ron Dearing UTC’s next Open Event will run from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 7. To register for the event, or to apply to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 in September 2020, click here.

Hundreds of students and parents attend Open Event as demand for places grows

Hundreds of prospective students and their parents attended the first Ron Dearing UTC Open Event of the new academic year, highlighting the huge demand for places.

Ron Dearing UTC offers its unique education model to 14 to 19-year-olds, working in partnership with some of Hull’s leading businesses to equip young people with the knowledge and skills to give them the edge as they make their way into the world of work.

More than 500 students and their parents attended the Open Event to find out about joining the school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020.

Ron Dearing UTC opened its doors in September 2017 and the first three years have all been oversubscribed. Just 300 places are currently available for September 2020 and more than 60 applications were received for Year 10 places ahead of the Open Event.

Students use virtual reality (VR) equipment to practice welding skills. It gives students a taste of what welding could be like as a career.


Attendees had chance to have a look around the school and get involved in workshops and demonstrations, largely focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) subjects.

They also met staff, current and former students, the employer partners and student ambassadors from Lead Academic Partner the University of Hull, as well as hearing from Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley, Vice Principal Steve Willacy and Yvonne Moir, Human Resources Director at engineering business Spencer Group, one of the school’s Founding Partners.

Sarah highlighted Ron Dearing UTC’s unique educational model and vision, showed images of the school’s first leavers who have just begun apprenticeships with leading local companies, and shared the outstanding GCSE, A-level and technical qualification results achieved in the school’s first public exams this summer.

She said: “The turnout has been brilliant and we’ve had lots of great feedback.

“Hopefully both the students and parents have gone away with a clear understanding of what Ron Dearing UTC offers and excited by our employer-engaged model of learning. It’s great to now have the results to prove it works.

“It is important the prospective students and their parents know and understand how close the partnership is between our school, the University of Hull and our employer partners. It’s a real team approach.”

Year 10 students, pictured from left – Ashburner Davison, 15, Abigail Dearing, 14, and Jessica Harkins, 14, gave physics demonstrations to prospective students and their parents at the Open Event.


Yvonne Moir, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, said Spencer Group initially intended to take six apprentices from the school this year but instead recruited 14.

She said: “The apprentices’ level of skill and knowledge is fantastic, so they have come into the workplace and fitted straight in. We don’t take apprentices from anywhere else now.

“The UTC is a brilliant opportunity to keep really gifted and skilled young people in Hull. This school is our talent stream for the future.”

Engineering Manufacture teacher Clive Isaacs, pictured left, with Year 12 student Luke Raine-Ellerker, 16. Luke’s brother, Charlie, 13, attended the Open Event with parents Simon and Michelle Raine-Ellerker, from west Hull.


Simon and Michelle Raine-Ellerker, from west Hull, took their son, Charlie, 13, to the Open Event as he hopes to join Year 10 in September 2020. The couple’s other son, Luke, 16, is already a student at Ron Dearing UTC’s Sixth Form after choosing to stay on after completing Year 11.

Mrs Raine-Ellerker said: “At Ron Dearing UTC the support, learning and mentoring the students get is brilliant and the staff are fantastic.”

Dylan Yeaman, 13, from east Hull, would like to join Year 10 at Ron Dearing UTC next year and attended the Open Event with his mother, Lisa.

He said: “I really like science and this school focuses on that. Looking around tonight, I have never seen anything like this in a school before. There are lots of opportunities.”

Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith + Nephew and Spencer Group. The school is also supported by Hull City Council and many other industry partners, including Major Partners APD Communications, Arco, BP, C4DI, Green Port Hull, Ideal Boilers, Fujitsu, Ørsted, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.

Students interested in places at Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 from September 2020 can attend further Open Events on November 7 or January 16. To register to attend, or to download online application forms, click here.