Equality and diversity workshop arms Ron Dearing UTC students with vital employability skills

Year 12 students at Ron Dearing UTC took part in an interactive workshop to teach them vital employability skills to help them progress in the world of work.

The equality and diversity workshop was delivered by staff from RB, the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, and one of the UTC’s Founding Partners, to almost 140 students.

Students were encouraged to think about self-awareness, how to understand other people’s personalities and characteristics, unconscious bias and how first impressions may not always be correct.

Year 12 Ron Dearing UTC students take part in an equality and diversity workshop delivered by RB, preparing them for the world of work.

The students completed a series of activities and watched videos to challenge perceptions. They also looked at how they would overcome challenges such as speaking to someone whose first language is not English, or how to work alongside and support someone who may be blind.

The workshop was part of a wider project at the employer-led school, which teaches employability skills such as independence, resilience and teamwork, and promotes values required in the workplace, including rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance.

RB’s Human Resources Manager Rachael Starkey, who delivered the workshops alongside the company’s Human Resources Business Partner Rob MacNaught, said: “The workshop is about self-awareness and how you can’t change anyone else, but you can change yourself.

“If an employee has only one style of communication in the workplace, it’s very difficult. We can teach the technical elements, but these skills are more critical to them being able to progress.

“If they are thinking about things like this at this age, it can only be positive. If they go away knowing one more little thing about themselves, it’s job done because we can build on that.”

Rachel Starkey, HR Manager at RB, talks to students.

As part of the workshop, students were shown pictures of various people and asked to guess who they were and what they are famous for, including Bachendri Pal, an Indian mountaineer who became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, and Andy Hinton, the Vice President of Global Ethics and Compliance at Google.

This exercise demonstrated to the students that perceptions can often be clouded by unconscious bias.

Sam Caley, Joint Head of Sixth Form at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I hope the students will have more of an understanding of equality in the workplace as a result of this workshop.

“This is about educating them about how first impressions count, how to appreciate other people and how to act professionally.”

Year 12 student Oliver Scothern

Year 12 student Oliver Scothern, 16, said he found the workshop interesting and informative.

He said: “Perceptions don’t always add up to what you imagine with a first impression and the workshop was about learning to understand people, which is definitely a useful skill. It will stand me in good stead when I go into the workplace.”

Year 12 student Kira Hobbs

Fellow Year 12 student Kira Hobbs, 17, said: “I’m in a wheelchair and there are things I struggle with which other people find really easy. It’s important to understand others and the workshop was interesting. You learn not to judge people by their appearance.”

Global company gives Cameron chance to fly in creative digital career

A former student from Ron Dearing UTC has taken up an apprenticeship role with the world’s fastest-growing and most innovative digital brand management business.

Cameron Davies, 18, has joined Sonoco Trident as a Creative Digital Apprentice, based at the company’s headquarters at Kingswood in Hull.

Cameron, who achieved a Distinction and Merit in his Creative Digital technical qualification at Ron Dearing UTC, as well as a Merit in Engineering, said the employer-led school played a key role in preparing him for the world of work.

Cameron, who may have the opportunity to travel to Sonoco Trident’s other bases across the globe in the future, hopes to progress into a marketing role and work up to a management position.

He said: “There is a lot of independent study at Ron Dearing UTC, it’s a lot more hands-on and the school has fantastic facilities. You have more one-to-one time with the teachers, work experience in summer and you learn how to interact with others, as well as how to be ready for the workplace.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship at Sonoco Trident and I’m learning about the software for artwork. This is the right move for me because I’m getting paid and learning at the same time.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC student Cameron Davies with Kirsty Bark, Global Talent Manager at his new employer, Sonoco Trident.


Sonoco Trident, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, is preparing to launch its new Trident Academy in January 2020, which is focused on all of its early career pathway employees, including apprentices, and Cameron is one of the first to experience it. The academy looks at personal brand, teamwork, how to represent the company and the business’ core values.

Kirsty Bark, Global Talent Manager at Sonoco Trident, said 120 of the 300 employees based at the company’s Kingswood headquarters came into the business through an apprenticeship, internship, work experience, or university route. Three of its directors based in Singapore, Sydney and the United States also came from Hull through one of these routes.

Kirsty said: “We talent-spotted Cameron and he went through a rigorous recruitment process. Ron Dearing UTC is a very forward-thinking school where the curriculum is shaped to fit what employers are looking for. That means its students are absolutely work ready.

“We recruit for attitude, not skills set. We look at who fits in with our culture and who can add value to that. Cameron has all those attributes and has settled in really well.

“Our managers have given great feedback about him and how he is keen to learn new skills, as well as contribute with his own ideas.”

  • Applications are being invited to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 in September 2020 with the next Open Event on Thursday, November 7. For further information, click here.

Pictures: Karl Andre Photography.