Three Ron Dearing UTC students chosen from hundreds of applicants for sought-after KCOM apprenticeships

Three Ron Dearing UTC students have been selected to take up apprenticeships with Hull-based KCOM after the company received 500 applications for just 10 positions.

The leading digital technology, communications and IT services provider has taken on Josh Fry, Aaron Pocklington and Brandon Thompson, all 18, as software engineering apprentices, helping them to realise their ambitions of becoming fully qualified Software Engineers.

They will complete a Level 4 qualification through the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, over two years, working and studying at home and in KCOM’s offices.

They will also work with Birmingham-based bespoke tech apprenticeship provider Digital Native one week per month as they go through their apprenticeship journeys.

KCOM is a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and helps to shape the curriculum, offers work experience and apprenticeships, as well as providing advice, guidance and industry level project work for students.

KCOM apprentices, from left, Brandon Thompson, Josh Fry and Aaron Pocklington, with Tim Shaw, Managing Director, KCOM Wholesale and Networks.


Josh, from Cottingham, said: “KCOM is where I’ve wanted to be since I joined Ron Dearing UTC and this is a dream come true for me.

“Ron Dearing UTC’s connections with KCOM and the courses the school offers linked to coding set me up with the skills and knowledge I needed for this opportunity, and the teachers were great.

“Everyone at KCOM has made me feel so welcome. It’s perfect and I’m so pleased I can start work straight away.”

Aaron, from west Hull, said becoming a student at Ron Dearing UTC set him on the right path to secure an apprentice with KCOM.

He said: “I’ve wanted to do this for five or six years after starting computer programming at school and going into more detail in Ron Dearing UTC Sixth Form.

“The employability days that Ron Dearing UTC arranged taught us interview techniques and helped us to prepare for work. I’m so glad I went to Ron Dearing because I probably wouldn’t have got this apprenticeship without it.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about my new role. This is definitely the right path for me.”

Brandon, from Kingswood, Hull, said he is proud to work for KCOM and is excited for the opportunities ahead.

He said: “I live locally and KCOM is a great local company to work for. I did well in the interview and I got a real buzz when I found out I’d got the job. I’m so pleased to have this opportunity.

“We learnt about the types of software KCOM uses while studying at Ron Dearing UTC. It gave us a really good insight into what we were coming into.

“I’d love to continue my career with KCOM in the future and become a Senior Software Engineer or a Software Developer.”


The three apprentices are excited about their new careers.


Tim Shaw, Managing Director, KCOM Wholesale and Networks, said helping and supporting local people and their careers is close to the heart of the business and taking on apprentices will continue.

He said: “They’re settling in really well and it’s great to hear their enthusiasm and see their drive.

“They each have a mentor and a manager, and they’ll go through a structured programme over the next few months, finding out what KCOM is all about and what it’s like to work here, as well as encouraging them to think like a customer while working as an employee.

“I know how excited the team are to have the apprentices join the business. Many people within KCOM were apprentices themselves and it makes such a difference to the organisation to come through the business on a similar journey to them.

“Ron Dearing UTC’s connections with local businesses is fantastic and creates the right connections and conversations for students leaving school. We’re already looking ahead to next year and how we build on the success of the current apprentices.”

Education Select Committee Chair hails Ron Dearing UTC as flagship for future of learning

A leading education expert has hailed Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) as a flagship school and praised staff for transforming the lives of students.

Robert Halfon, Chair of the Education Select Committee and Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex, took time out from his Parliamentary roles to visit Hull’s employer-led school.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley with Robert Halfon, Chair of the Parliamentary Education Select Committee, outside the employer-led school.


He met Principal Sarah Pashley and her Senior Leadership Team, spoke to students, observed engineering, maths and digital media lessons, experienced virtual reality technology and met two former students who have been taken on as apprentices by one of the school’s Founding Partners, Spencer Group.

Mr Halfon also took questions from Year 13 students about online learning, apprenticeships and concerns about exams in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Robert Halfon held a question and answer session with students during his visit to Ron Dearing UTC.


Mr Halfon said: “Ron Dearing UTC is one of the flagship UTCs and it’s been a pleasure to visit because everything I believe about in education seems to be reflected in the ethos of this school.

“It is clearly transforming the lives of hundreds of students. Some of them may not have been so successful in their traditional schools previously, but they clearly love learning here.

“They told me a key reason they came to this school is because they’ve got a very good chance of having a great career afterwards.

“To me, this is the future and this school is truly fit for the 21st century. The organisational ethos is second to none and there is a really great atmosphere.

“It’s all down to leadership. Every time I’ve visited a great school, I’ve found it’s because it has a brilliant leadership team.”

Robert Halfon told Ron Dearing UTC students he understood their concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on education during a Q&A session as part of his visit to the school.


Mr Halfon added: “I’m a huge supporter of UTCs because I think they’re the future of learning and they’re doing things that are absolutely vital because the world is changing. I would love it if there were many more UTCs like Ron Dearing UTC – one in every town and city.

“A fourth industrial revolution is under way, driven by technology, and 28% of jobs that are currently done by young people could be lost to automation.

“This is why education has to change. Students here are destined for good jobs with blue chip companies – they’re the people who are going to thrive in this new industrial revolution.”

Mr Halfon took time for a Q&A session with students and said he understood their concerns regarding the impact of Covid-19 on education.

Year 13 student Alex Burr, 17, asked Mr Halfon for his thoughts on costly university fees as face-to-face learning has decreased and more tuition is carried out online.  Alex suggested universities should offer a discount when they were unable to offer their usual curriculum.  Mr Halfon agreed that she had a very good point and said he would raise Alex’s concerns with ministers.

Robert Halfon sat in on lessons at Ron Dearing UTC, which he said was transforming the lives of hundreds of students.


Principal Sarah Pashley said she was delighted the visit was able to go ahead despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

She said: “It’s a really key time for a visit such as this because education is facing many challenges at the moment and it’s really good to have somebody who is influential in Government to feed back the views of staff and students.

“Mr Halfon has certainly been very interested to hear what we have to say about how we get through the difficult next 12 months in education.  It’s also great to meet someone who is clearly a huge supporter of technical education and apprenticeships and understands how education needs to change.”

“We’re very passionate about our curriculum, with its balance between technical and academic learning, the opportunities it provides for students to apply theory to real practice and the very strong partnerships we have with our employer sponsors and the University of Hull.

“Mr Halfon seems to agree with us that this approach is the way forward for education in this country. We really hope he is able to take this back to government and that we may be able to bring about some much-needed change in terms of the education in the UK.”

Pictures: R&R Studio.

Spencer Group opens door to new apprentices as five Ron Dearing students join the team

Five Ron Dearing UTC students have begun apprenticeships at one of the UK’s leading privately-owned engineering businesses.

It’s the second consecutive year Hull-based Spencer Group has taken on students from the employer-led school and they follow in the footsteps of 14 previous Ron Dearing students who remain on their apprenticeship journey with the company after taking up their positions last year.

Web development apprentices Corben Spencer and Charlie Hutty, engineering apprentices Tom Dubej and Olly Kneeshaw, and commercial apprentice Oliver Walkington, all 18, will gain knowledge and skills in their respective teams while also studying with various education and training providers.

Spencer Group is a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and supports students through career advice and guidance, setting industry standard projects, work experience and more, as well as offering as many as possible the chance to join the business as apprentices.

Tom, from Hornsea, will complete a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Construction and the Built Environment through North Lindsey College in Scunthorpe over two years.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to go into engineering and this apprenticeship is a perfect fit for me.

“Ron Dearing UTC has given me a better feel for the adult world. The support was great and it was our responsibility to prioritise our time to study, which has helped to prepare me for work.

“Spencer Group is such an innovative company and I’m very proud to work here. This is a big opportunity for me and I’m embracing it.”

Apprentices, from left, Tom Dubej, Oliver Walkington, Charlie Hutty, Corben Spencer and Olly Kneeshaw, with Spencer Group Managing Director Gary Thornton.


Oliver, from Bridlington, will complete a degree apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying over five years at Leeds Beckett University.

He said: “I’m learning about the financial side of the business, looking at prices and what we spend now, and where that will lead us in the future.

“I’ve always wanted to work with numbers and I’d like to become a fully qualified Quantity Surveyor in the future.

“Studying at Ron Dearing UTC was the best choice I could have made because of the links it has with employer partners and sponsors. I completed a work placement at Spencer Group when I was in Year 12, so I had the opportunity to experience the company before I applied to join the business.

“It’s going really well so far and I’m super excited to be here.”

Corben, from Hessle, will spend 15 months completing a Software Development Technician Level 3 qualification through QA Apprenticeships, the UK’s leading tech teaching provider.

He said: “Joining Spencer Group is great – everyone is really professional and approachable.

“Ron Dearing UTC allowed me to explore my options and Spencer Group looked at what we’ve learnt, so they can support us to build on that knowledge.”

The new Spencer Group apprentices are excited about the opportunity.


Gary Thornton, Managing Director at Spencer Group, said last year’s apprentices have played a key role in helping to shape and improve the programme for this year’s intake. They will help to mentor the new apprentices on their journey and this process will continue for years to come.

Gary said: “It’s great to be able to build on last year’s intake of apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC. We’ve seen them grow and develop and the new intake gives them somebody to mentor as they’re moving through.

“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and at a time when employment is very tough to secure, it’s a great privilege to be part of a business that can give these young people this opportunity and put them on the first step to success.

“Preparing people for work is one of the great successes we have seen at Ron Dearing UTC. The partner organisations have embedded themselves into the development of the curriculum, offered students a week’s engagement in the business and enabled them to learn things about interview techniques from an employer’s perspective.

“They get a really good grasp of what life after education looks like and that stands them in good stead for employment opportunities in the future. They quickly settle in and are very adaptable.”

Spencer Group delivers innovative engineering solutions in the energy, transport, infrastructure, materials handling and industrial sectors, from initial design concepts through to construction, and specialises in logistically-complex and business-critical schemes.

Ron Dearing students are on the right track with Siemens Mobility

Two Ron Dearing UTC students will play their part in the biggest and most significant current investment in the Hull and Humber region.

Megan Turner and Kate Rodley, both 18, are among 12 new Level 3 Rail Technician apprentices recruited for Siemens Mobility’s pioneering rail manufacturing facility in Goole, which is due to open in 2023.

Megan and Kate were selected from 200 applications for the amazing opportunity to be among the first of up to 700 employees at the state-of-the-art facility, where they will help to build Piccadilly Line tube trains for the London Underground.

Siemens Mobility is the sister company of Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner Siemens Gamesa, which manoeuvred one of its 75m (250 ft) wind turbine blades from the company’s factory at Hull’s Alexandra Dock to the city centre as part of the 2017 UK City of Culture year.

Megan was inspired by the “Blade” installation, which made headlines around the world, and she is now realising her dream of working for Siemens.

Megan, who achieved a double Distinction in Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I found the blade really interesting and I also met some of the Siemens team at Ron Dearing UTC and they were all really nice, which made me think it would be great to work for them.

Siemens Mobility apprentices Megan Turner, left, and Kate Rodley, with Director of Localisation, Finbarr Dowling.


“I’m so excited about this opportunity and really looking forward to meeting new people and learning new skills. It’s something new and I enjoy learning on the job. I hope it will lead to long-term employment with Siemens Mobility.

“I chose to go to Ron Dearing UTC because I’ve wanted to study engineering for years and it was a perfect fit for me. It’s a really nice environment and the staff help you to prepare for the world of work. They’re so supportive.”

Kate’s desire to work for Siemens dates back four years to when she took part in an electric kit car race, organised by the Greenpower Education Trust and supported by Siemens, while she was a Year 10 student at Beverley High School.

Kate, who achieved a double Distinction* and a Distinction in Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I’m so excited to start my career and in an adult environment, being practical and independent, while learning with the other apprentices. The apprenticeship offers travel opportunities too, which is also exciting.

“I really like what Siemens does in terms of sustainability, which I believe is really important for the future, and I want to be part of that.

“One of the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) units we worked on at Ron Dearing UTC was set by Siemens and we designed a wind turbine. Ron Dearing UTC helped me to get this apprenticeship and reach out to Siemens. They push you to be the best you can be.”

Megan and Kate will spend their first year at Siemen’s Mobility’s training partner Selby College, developing core mechanical and engineering skills as part of a three-year training programme.

Their second year will see them spend one day a week at the college and four days on placement at Siemens Mobility centres to build up their experience and practical skills, as well as four weeks at the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Northampton – a £7m facility jointly funded by Siemens Mobility and the Government.

The third year will involve a six-month placement at Siemens Mobility’s metros centre of excellence in Vienna, Austria, before joining the first employees at the new facility in Goole.

Megan Turner, left, and Kate Rodley are excited to start the new Level 3 Rail Technician Apprenticeship.


Finbarr Dowling, Director of Localisation for Siemens Mobility Limited, is a former Ron Dearing UTC Governor and played a key role, together with Patron Alan Johnson and Chair of Governors, Charlie Spencer OBE, in establishing the school.

He said: “I couldn’t be prouder that the first intake of apprentices for our Goole rail manufacturing facility includes two students from Ron Dearing UTC.

“Megan and Kate’s stories illustrate the power Siemens has to inspire young people to embark on careers in engineering and manufacturing.

“Their appointment as among our first apprentices also testifies to the fantastic talent that Ron Dearing UTC develops.”

Our students return with confidence and enthusiasm for new school year

Our students have hit the ground running for the new school year, returning with enthusiasm and a desire for face-to-face learning.

The safety of students and staff is paramount and extensive arrangements have been put in place to avoid transmission of Covid-19, ensuring all students can return safely.

Ninety eight per cent of all students returned at staggered start times today, with temperature checks on entry, face coverings worn when moving around school and students given dedicated social areas at break and lunch times in their year group “bubbles”.

Students were welcomed back to school by staff in their year groups in the conference centre before making their way to their classrooms with their mentors to begin their school year.

New Year 10 student Cameron Branston, 14, said he is delighted to join Ron Dearing UTC and is looking forward to the year ahead.

He said: “I haven’t been in a school since mid-March and it’s great to be here.

“I chose to come to Ron Dearing UTC because it can open up so many doors. It’s a professional environment and it’s great they have employer partners and sponsors.

“One of the subjects I’ve picked is Computer Science and that’s something I hope to have a career in. I feel confident and excited.”

Year 11 student Chantel Alliaj is pleased to be back with her friends and teachers.


Year 11 student Chantel Alliaj, 15, said she prefers learning in school and found it challenging studying at home during lockdown.

She said: “It was stressful working at home and it’s a relief to finally be back at school. We’re focusing on our GCSEs this year and I’m pleased to be back with my friends and teachers.

“The teachers really focus on you and, if you’re struggling with something, they help you through and the teaching is great.

“We’re also in school for a full working week, which is great for preparing us for work and the future.”

Students were given “Covid kits”, including hand sanitiser, tissue packs, wipes, a pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and calculator, and reminded to check and report any symptoms to ensure every precaution is taken to protect both students and staff.

Fellow Year 11 student Charlie Goode, 15, said he is ready for a year dedicated to studying for his GCSEs in a safe environment.

He said: “Online learning was tough and it’s much better to be back at school. I feel really supported here and really safe.

“I hope I do well in my GCSEs and I’m ready to work hard. It’s great to see everyone at school again.”

New Year 12 student Luke Blackwood, 16, who will study triple engineering, said: “I’m excited to start learning and meet new people. It’s not the same when you have to learn at home and face-to-face is much better.

“The staff and facilities are great, and the courses are brilliant too, so Ron Dearing UTC is a nice place to be.

“Coming here is a great chance to hopefully secure a job for life in the future. My grandad was an engineer and that’s my aim too.”

Year 11 student Charlie Goode says it’s great to see everyone at school again.


Fellow Year 12 student Catherine Crees, 16, is also new to the school and will study Maths, Physics and Engineering.

She said: “I think Ron Dearing UTC is the best place for me to study to get an apprenticeship in the future. I really like everything I’ve heard about the school and the teaching style.

“The communication for me preparing to come here has been so good and I’ve always had a quick response, even during lockdown. I’m looking forward to studying something new and can’t wait to start learning.”

Our Principal Sarah Pashley said: “It’s so lovely to finally have all our students back in lessons and learning. We’ve missed them.

“I’m delighted to report that attendance is 98%, which is fantastic and shows how keen our students are to be back at school.

“Our new Year 10s and Year 12s have all turned up with extremely positive attitudes.  Our existing students, who are always brilliant advocates for Ron Dearing UTC, are all raring to go.

“Staff and students are being very supportive about adhering to the Covid-19 rules regarding face coverings, social distancing and hygiene. There’s a fantastic buzz around the place and it’s great to be back.”

For more information about our return to school arrangements, click here.

Welcome back – September 2020 reopening

We’re looking forward to welcoming all our students into school on Wednesday, 9th September, for the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

We have put in place extensive arrangements to ensure the safety of students and staff. Here are the details.


Our priorities

  • Maximise the safety of staff and students.
  • Reduce transmission of COVID-19.
  • Ensure all students return to school and to face-to-face learning.


Strategies in place to minimise risk of transmission

  • Students to arrive and enter via reception turnstiles. Temperature checked on entry. Face coverings put on.
  • Breaks to be taken in ‘bubble social areas’:
    • Year 10 – Floor 2.
    • Year 11 – Conference Centre.
    • Year 12 – Floor 1.
    • Year 13 – Floor 3.
  • The dining room will be closed to students at break times. Students to bring water/snacks to school to eat in bubble social areas at break.  No fizzy/energy drinks are allowed. Water bottles will be provided on September 9th.
  • Lunch:
    • Years 11, 12 and 13:
      • Lunch to be spent off site or in bubble social areas or in Dining 2 (if food pre-ordered from RDUTC).
      • Lunches purchased from RDUTC to be pre-ordered.
      • Access to Dining Room Servery limited to between 12.50pm and 1.15pm.
    • Year 10:
      • Lunch to be spent in bubble social area or in Dining 1 (if food pre-ordered from RDUTC).
      • Lunches purchased from RDUTC to be pre-ordered.
      • Access to Dining Room Servery limited to between 12.30pm and 12.50pm.


PPE Hygiene

In addition to handwashing/sanitiser/deep cleaning, etc:

  • RDUTC to provide students with a ‘COVID-kit’ to include: hand sanitiser; tissue packs; wipes; pen; pencil; ruler; rubber; calculator.
  • RDUTC to provide students and staff with washable, non-medical face coverings which MUST be worn:
    • On entry to school.
    • When moving around corridors.
    • In Dining Room 1 Servery.
    • On public transport to and from school, if relevant.
  • Students to wipe down work areas/keyboards before and after use.
  • Rooms and equipment to be cleaned before and after each lesson.


Response to symptoms

  • Where possible, staff and students to test temperature before setting off for school. If temperature is above 37 degrees:
    • Stay at home and self-isolate.
    • Call Attendance Line to report absence.
    • Get a COVID-19 test.
    • Contact RDUTC with test outcome.
  • Temperature reader at entrance barriers to test staff and students. If temperature is above 37 degrees:
    • Go to COVID Isolation Room (reception).
    • Temperature re-tested after 15 minutes.
  • If temperature is still above 37 degrees:
    • Students: parents contacted to collect – self-isolate – get a test – contact RDUTC with test outcome.
    • Staff: go home – self-isolate – get a test – contact Principal with test outcome.
  • Students displaying symptoms during the day: alert SLT – face covering on – sent immediately to COVID Isolation Room – parents contacted to collect – get a test – contact RDUTC with test outcome.
  • Staff displaying symptoms during the day: face covering on – alert SLT for cover – go home – get a test – contact Principal with test outcome.


Daily safety check: students

Before coming to school each day, please check the following:

  • You are not currently suffering from any of the following:
    • A fever (high temperature).
    • Persistent cough.
    • Breathlessness.
    • An altered sense of taste/smell.
  • No-one in your household is currently suffering from any of the above.
  • No-one in your household is currently self-isolating due to local guidance on COVID-19 infection.
  • You have no reason to believe that you are at genuine risk of having been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • No-one in your household has received a positive COVID-19 test result in the past 14 days.

If you are unable to answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the above statements you must NOT come to school.  Please ring the Attendance Line on 01482 222299.


Note to parents / carers

  • If you are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 infection you and your son/daughter should:
    • Self-isolate.
    • Ring the Attendance Line on 01482 222299
    • Get a COVID-19 test.
    • Contact RDUTC with the test outcome.
  • If you wish to drop-off and /or collect your son/daughter from school by car, you must use the History Centre car park behind RDUTC and remain in your car.
  • If you wish to walk with your son/daughter to and from school, you must leave them and pick them up from an area more than 50 meters from RDUTC.
  • You must not gather at entrance doors or the area immediately surrounding RDUTC.
  • You must not enter the RDUTC building unless you have a pre-arranged appointment.
  • Please phone reception on 01482 222299 to arrange meetings.


Thank you for your support.