Photography masterclass sees students capture Hull in an urban light

Year 12 students embraced life through a lens to capture “urban Hull” after taking part in photography masterclasses.

The diploma group of 14 students at Ron Dearing UTC completed a practical digital photography unit as part of their coursework and teamed up with local creative lead Luke Thornton, Managing Director of Influence Media, who shared his picture-taking knowledge and skills.

The students had to follow a high-level brief and take a series of professional images of “urban Hull”, showing how the city has changed and developed over the years. They were asked to take pictures to suit a glossy magazine and related online platforms.

As part of the project, they visited tech hub C4DI in Hull’s Fruit Market for a photography workshop with Luke and took part in a research tour of the city, including the Fruit Market, High Street and Hull Minster.

The project included meticulously planning the visit through the pre-production stage of the project over several weeks, including risk assessments and using Google Earth to map out and plan locations.

Luke said: “We went through everything that goes into taking the perfect picture, including pre-production and technical camera skills, right the way through to post-production and using industry-standard software, such as Photoshop.

“I took the students through real-life client briefs received over the years, so they have a true understanding of what goes on in the real world of photography.

“It’s not just about the picture, it’s about your relationship with the client, understanding them and making sure you over-deliver each and every time.

“The students were all very receptive and enthusiastic, they asked good questions and they got the most out of the experience. I was really impressed.”

Kate Blowman, Art and Creative Digital Teacher at Ron Dearing UTC, said the students were also encouraged to look at the smaller details of Hull, such as the cobbles, so they could be as creative as possible with their photography.

She said: “Rain during the afternoon didn’t deter them and the weather made their pictures look even more urban. They had to take about 200 pictures and they chose their favourite 10 to edit.

“C4DI is a thriving environment and it was a great place for the students to work on this project because they were treated like professionals, and they needed to work to deadlines. Luke taught them how to edit and copyright images for print, or online use, getting them ready for publication.

“We wanted to take the learning out of the classroom and help them to realise what it’s like working in a real-life environment.”

Lunch & Learn with APD inspires next generation of female tech talent

Some of our top female tech talent have attended an inspiring and empowering “Lunch & Learn” session hosted by one of our Major Partners, leading technology company APD Communications.

Hull-based APD supplies critical, life-saving software to police forces and emergency services organisations across the UK and supports critical control operations internationally.

Students attend a Lunch & Learn session hosted by APD Communications.


APD Senior Software Tester Keeley Barrick led the presentation to a group of female sixth formers, plus one Year 10 student, with fellow APD colleagues Wendy Hiley, Talent Business Partner, and Jo Ward, Head of Development Delivery.

The interactive session looked at the past achievements of female tech pioneers, including 19th century mathematician and visionary Ada Lovelace, known as “the prophet of the computer age”.

Keeley moved on to discuss present-day examples of influential women in tech such as Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki.

Keeley said: “It’s extremely important to encourage the next generation of women into tech careers because the proportion of females in this industry is still so small.

“Hull is a great area for growing talent and all the initiatives by companies such as APD and by Ron Dearing UTC give more hope and opportunity to students and graduates to go for a career in technology.

“These female students show how attitudes are changing. Hopefully they will be inspired to overcome gender stereotypes and progress into tech careers.”

APD Senior Software Tester Keeley Barrick led the presentation which focused on the role of women in tech.


Year 12 engineering student Ellie Clayton said: “I’m interested in working for Smith & Nephew or Siemens, who are both Ron Dearing UTC partners. They’re big companies and lots of people want to join them, but I think having high aspirations just helps you to work harder.

“I also used to want to work for the police but until today’s Lunch & Learn event with APD I didn’t realise there were so many tech jobs within the police service. It’s quite inspirational to see what we can do.”

Year 10 student Zoe Brown said: “Most jobs in tech are male dominated, so it’s important to see females in top roles in software companies. It shows girls they can get jobs in tech.”

Other topics covered in the lunchtime session included how gender bias can deter females from choosing careers in technology and how more role models were needed to encourage women into the tech roles.

The nine engineering, maths and computer science students then heard about how forward-thinking APD empowers its workforce regardless of gender, with many women in senior positions at the company.

Wendy Hiley said: “I’ve seen the roles of women in tech change over the years, so it’s really important for us to inspire the next generation of females into the industry.

“We’re always looking for new and exciting ideas from the next wave of talent, so we’re keen to continue to develop our links with schools like Ron Dearing UTC and universities.

“APD is such a forward-thinking company and we’re all so passionate about the work we do – which is literally saving lives through tech. Hopefully these sessions will inspire students to think of APD when they’re deciding on a career.”

Ron Dearing UTC students get inside track on exciting careers at Apprenticeships Expo

Students at Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) had their eyes opened to numerous exciting opportunities available to them at a special careers event.

Hull’s pioneering digital technology and engineering school held its second annual Apprenticeships Expo, with students given the chance to meet with a wide range of employers and find out more about apprenticeships and other career opportunities.

The event was again organised by Ron Dearing UTC partner employer, recruitment specialist Emmerson Kitney, and more than a dozen businesses including Spencer Group, Swift, Groupe Atlantic and Sypro.

It gave the sixth form students who are due to leave this summer the inside track on sought-after training roles with many of the area’s best employers.

Spencer Group Engineer Thomas Inglis speaking with Ron Dearing UTC students at the Apprenticeships Expo.


Spencer Group, one of the school’s Founding Partners, currently has 14 apprentices who joined the Hull-based engineering business from the UTC and four of them attended the expo to talk to students about their own positive experiences.

Engineer Thomas Inglis said: “We brought our own apprentices so the students could relate to them.

“We have an idea of how many apprentices we want to take on this year, but if we find extraordinarily high talent in the group leaving the school, we will take more on. Last year we didn’t intend on taking on 14 but the students were of such a high standard that we decided we would.

“The students here are very talented and enthusiastic.”

Caravan, motorhome and holiday home manufacturer Swift in attendance at the Ron Dearing UTC Apprenticeship Expo.


Cottingham-based caravan, motorhome and holiday home producer Swift attended again, after taking on four apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC last year.

Richard Monk, Technical Trainer at Swift, said: “We are looking for practical people because it is a very hands-on industry.

“Four of last year’s intake of apprentices were from Ron Dearing, joining us in September. They have been brilliant and are doing really well. The skills they developed at Ron Dearing prepared them really well.”

Software company Sypro, based in Hull, has a customer service support engineer position currently available.

Marketing Manager Olivia Toplass said: “All of our roles tend to have a technical aspect. The position we have available will be supporting our technical customer service and this was a really good option for us to come here.”

Maria Shepherd, HR Advisor Development at Groupe Atlantic, the parent company of Hull-based Ideal Boilers, added: “We want to make sure local talent stays with us and the digital focus here at Ron Dearing really links in with our research and development teams.

“The facilities here are state-of-the-art. They are second to none.”

Students at Ron Dearing UTC were given the opportunity to find out about exciting career opportunities with some of the area’s best employers.


More than 200 students who will be leaving Ron Dearing UTC in July after the successful completion of their studies attended the event. Students from Year 11 were also given the opportunity to speak to employers, to enable them to start thinking about their next move at an early stage.

Sam Caley, Joint Head of Sixth Form, said it was a fantastic opportunity for the students to find an exciting position as the school aims to repeat its success of last year, when 100% of students who left secured an apprenticeship, other employment or a place at university.

He said: “We’re really focused on the progression routes for our students once they leave.

“We specialise in this area and all the companies represented here know we work with our students to ensure they have excellent employability skills.”

Ron Dearing UTC opened in September 2017 offering a unique education model with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

Specialist subjects studied at the Kingston Square school, in Hull city centre, include digital technologies, computing, digital media and engineering in a range of disciplines including design, manufacture, electrical and mechanical, systems control and automation.

Tim Watson, of Emmerson Kitney, said: “This event has helped all these businesses connect with local talent, specialising in engineering, technical and digital skills.

“These young people are the future leaders in our region.”