Hull’s employer-led school celebrates third year of positive destinations for sixth form students

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has recorded a clean sweep of positive destinations for its sixth form students for the third consecutive year.

Every one of the employer-led school’s Year 13 students have gone on to exciting apprenticeships, university, employment, further education or the Armed Forces, securing fantastic career opportunities and bright futures.

It’s the third year the Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated Hull school has had no students who are not in education, employment or training after leaving sixth form.

Of the 117 sixth form students, 60 have secured apprenticeships with leading businesses, including many of Ron Dearing UTC’s Employer Partners, and 39 have moved onto study at university, including at some of the prestigious Russell Group of universities.

Sonoco Trident Operations Manager Andy Spencer with former Ron Dearing UTC students and CGI Artist apprentices Thomas Staniforth, centre, and Kelland Sharpe. Picture: Neil Holmes Photography.


Ten students have gained employment, five have gone onto other further education colleges and three have taken up positions with the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partners Spencer Group and Reckitt and have taken on nine and three apprentices respectively. Meanwhile, Major Partners Arco and Luxinar have both taken on four, fellow Major Partner Sonoco Trident has taken on two and other leading businesses have each taken on a single student.

The apprenticeships cover a wide range of in-demand roles and skills, including Engineering, Digital, Graphic Production and Research and Development.

In addition, 11 Year 11 students who left Ron Dearing UTC this summer have also secured apprenticeships, while two went into the Army.

New Arco recruits, from left, James Swinburne, Chloe Marshall, Ben Maycock and Kai Ingram with the company’s Head of Business Improvement, Neil Cavill. Picture: Hull News & Pictures.


Businesses that have taken on Ron Dearing UTC students as apprentices say the school provides young people who are fully prepared for the world of work with the skills to thrive with their new employers.

Ron Dearing UTC Governor Neil Cavill, Head of Business Improvement at the UK’s leading safety company, Arco, said: “We’re delighted four apprentices have joined us and chosen Arco to start their careers.

“It’s clear that the skills and experience they’ve gained at Ron Dearing will stand them in good stead as they begin working life with us. We’re looking forward to seeing them grow and develop over the coming years.”

Chris Newman, who is responsible for skills-based training and development at Hessle-based Luxinar, a world leader in laser manufacture, said: “Our apprentices have settled in nicely and they’re already achieving at a high level because of the skills they’ve gained from Ron Dearing UTC in readiness for the workplace.

“As a Major Partner, it’s invaluable to have the pick of the talent from the school and we’re looking forward to helping them progress within the business. Ron Dearing students are a cut above!”

Former Ron Dearing UTC students., from left, Ethan Russell, Jake Morris, Rhiannon Lowther and Jack Christian, who have taken up Mechanical and Electrical Engineering apprenticeships at Luxinar. Picture: Neil Holmes Photography.


Alex Keable, Formation Associate at Reckitt, the world’s foremost consumer health and hygiene company, is managing one of the three Ron Dearing UTC apprentices taken on by the business.

He said: “When we look for apprentices, we want independent critical thinkers, which is what we get from Ron Dearing UTC. They treat their students as adults.

“It’s tough coming into a large workplace as an 18-year-old, as many employees have degrees, masters degrees and PhDs, so it’s great that they have that mindset. It’s amazing to see how far they can go.”

Engineering specialist Spencer Group hired 14 apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC two years ago in the largest intake of young new talent and they have all now secured permanent, full-time trainee positions with the company.

Spencer Group’s latest intake of apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC: Back, from left, Oliver O’Loughlin, Tom Crossland, Carter Lees and Alfie Stanford; front, from left, Luke Raine-Ellerker, Tom O’Loughlin, Lee Chamberlain, Alex Burr and Jack Webster. Picture: Neil Holmes Photography.


With this year’s intake of a further nine apprentices and five who were recruited last year, Spencer group has hired a total of 28 former Ron Dearing UTC students under its apprenticeship programme in just two years.

Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman of Spencer Group, who is also a Governor of the school, said: “The apprentices are all at the required academic level, have excellent technical and employability skills and, perhaps most importantly, a brilliant attitude.”

Sonoco Trident is the world’s fastest-growing and most innovative digital brand management business and has taken on 7 Ron Dearing UTC apprentices over the past three years, including two this year.

Operations Manager Andy Spencer said: “Ron Dearing UTC apprentices come to us work-ready, they’re on time, smart, engaged and keen to learn. We’re really impressed by them and this is a really good route into the industry.”

Research and Development Apprentice Leoni Wilkinson is one of three new recruits Reckitt has taken on from Ron Dearing UTC. Picture: Reckitt.


Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see all of our Year 13 students move onto positive destinations for the third consecutive year.  We’re extremely proud of our track record in terms of none of our leavers being ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment or Training) every year since we opened.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our amazing employer partners and the incredible hard work of our student support team who go ‘the extra mile and some’ to ensure all our students have high-quality progression routes.

“Our unique curriculum is designed to produce students who are ready to hit the ground running when they leave and have a positive impact in the workplace or at university.

“Without doubt, the skills and knowledge they gain at Ron Dearing UTC help to pave the way for them to have brilliant futures and we wish every one of them the very best of luck.

“I cannot thank the staff and our employers enough for providing such fantastic opportunities and making sure RDUTC really does give students the edge.”

Opened in 2017, Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged between 14 and 19, offering a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

Student challenge champions excited to be going from Ron Dearing UTC to COP26

Two Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) students have spoken of their excitement after winning a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the critical COP26 global climate change conference.

Year 13 students Catherine Crees and Jaden Taylor, both 17, were crowned winners of The Waterline Student Challenge 2021, which saw young people aged 11-18 plan and deliver their own eco project to find sustainable climate change solutions as part of Marketing Humber’s The Waterline campaign.

Ron Dearing UTC students Jaden Taylor and Catherine Crees show off their The Waterline Student Challenge prizes with Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering Glenn Jensen. The students will now attend the COP26 global climate change conference.


As the “Sustainability Crew” they researched and calculated how students and staff could reduce their carbon footprints by cycling to school rather than driving or using public transport.

Their work prompted many of their classmates and teachers to change their travelling habits and Hull’s employer-led school is now looking at how it can increase its bike shed capacity following the successful response.

Every country in the world will be represented at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is being held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, with many world leaders set to attend.

Catherine and Jaden’s prize will see them attend on November 9 when they will speak about their project at a fringe event.

The students also hope to spend their £2,500 prize money, including £500 for being finalists, on planting a tree for every Ron Dearing UTC student past, present and future in Hull city centre.

The school is now in early talks with Hull City Council representatives to assess the possibilities and potential locations for the tree planting, which would also involve additional investment from Ron Dearing UTC.

Students Jaden Taylor and Catherine Crees won The Waterline Student Challenge with a project that has led to classmates and teachers at Ron Dearing UTC cutting their carbon footprints by cycling to school rather than driving or using public transport.


As finalists Catherine and Jaden will also receive a behind the scenes VIP experience with a supporting business, providing an insight into the career opportunities available to them with a company committed to sustainability and protecting the environment.

Catherine said: “It’s an honour to win and have the opportunity to go to COP26. We put a lot of hours and hard work into something that will create lasting change at Ron Dearing UTC and the competition win is a bonus.

“It’s great to know our hard work has paid off and going to COP26 will enable us to look behind the scenes and see for ourselves what is being done about climate change. It’s important we have a green future. Small changes make a massive difference and we all have a part to play.”

Jaden said: “COP26 is a really big deal and it’s a great opportunity for us. It feels brilliant to have won the competition. We’re raising awareness of the need to tackle climate change and it’s good that it’s being taken so seriously.”

Catherine and Jaden, who are both studying Maths, Physics and Engineering in Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form, will travel to Glasgow with Principal Sarah Pashley and Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering Glenn Jensen.

Ron Dearing UTC students Catherine Crees and Jaden Taylor show off their The Waterline Student Challenge prizes with Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering Glenn Jensen.


Glenn said: “We’re immensely proud of Catherine and Jaden and attending COP26 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them.

“Catherine and Jaden’s project was part of our sustainability unit work with one of our Major Partners, Ørsted. They carried out research and produced formulas, and sent a Google form for students and staff to complete on their journeys to and from the school.

“That work has definitely encouraged students and staff to take more responsibility for their own carbon footprints.”

He added: “It’s also brilliant that Catherine and Jaden want to use their prize money to plant trees, which will contribute towards carbon reduction and also support Hull City Council in creating a greener city.”

Sponsored by SSE Thermal, The Waterline Student Challenge 2021 saw six entries shortlisted as finalists, all judged to have demonstrated knowledge of how to protect the environment, as well as creativity, imagination and delivery. Each finalist team was awarded £500.

Entries were judged by representatives from SSE Thermal, KCOM, Associated British Ports (ABP), Yorkshire Water, Ørsted, and Willerby, all of which will be providing a behind the scenes visit for a finalist team, as well as guest judges from the University of Hull and the Zero Carbon Humber project.

Marketing Humber Managing Director Dr Diana Taylor said: “We’d like to congratulate Catherine and Jaden on being crowned winners of this new and exciting competition. They showed great initiative in identifying one way students and staff at their school can act to reduce their carbon impact.

“The standard of entries was incredibly high and our judges were so impressed with the level of thought and detail that went into them all. All of the entries and finalists should be really proud of themselves as they are all playing their part to make a difference.”

The week-long Waterline Summit is the flagship event of The Waterline campaign and links the region to COP26. The summit includes a host of in-person and hybrid events and panel discussions, as well as immersive virtual experiences, positioning the Humber as central to the global climate emergency.

For more information, click here.

Pictures: R&R Studio.

World leaders to view Ron Dearing UTC students’ artwork at global climate summit

Artwork created by three Ron Dearing UTC students will be viewed by world leaders at a globally critical climate change conference.

COP26, the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, will see governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), businesses and trade unions meet in Glasgow to review and negotiate global action on the climate crisis.

Year 11 Ron Dearing UTC students Molly Warburton, Scarlet Wedgner and Katie Hatfield, all 15, recently produced artwork for a major arts competition run by environmental conservation organisation Planetary International, titled “Words and Pictures for Your World”.

They were asked to show how they see Hull in 50 years’ time if action on climate change is not taken now and they used art to show the city underwater, including landmarks such as The Deep and the Fruit Market, as well as cream coloured telephone boxes.

All of their work was shortlisted and open to a public and student vote on Planetary International’s website, which means it will be shown in two zones at COP26, including online, and viewed by world leaders and members of the public. Their work will also be included in an upcoming anthology.

Year 12 students Molly Warburton, Scarlet Wedgner and Katie Hatfield proudly show off their artwork.


Molly, Scarlet and Kate entered the poetry, art and photography competition through the UK School Sustainability Network (UKSSN), which brings together a regional network of students to connect and collaborate with peers, and students from across the UK took part.

Scarlet said: “It hasn’t sunk in that world leaders will look at our artwork. Not many people have this opportunity and I’m pleased we’ve been able to show our ideas about climate change through art.”

Molly said: “I’ve always loved art and it was fun to take part in the competition. Knowing our work will be seen at COP26 is amazing.”

Katie said: “When we submitted our entries, we didn’t think they would be seen outside the classroom. This is a really good opportunity for us.”

The students’ artwork will also contribute towards their ideas for a mural as part of the Shorelines Project in Hull, which is raising awareness of climate change and flooding, and the impact it could have on the city and its young people in the future.

Artwork produced by Year 12 students Molly Warburton, Scarlet Wedgner and Katie Hatfield.


The students are preparing to work with world renowned digital street artist Erin Ko to create a mural highlighting the issue and will share their designs with her to help form part of the final piece at Ron Dearing UTC.

Lynn Garland-Collins, Senior Assistant Principal and Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “To have leaders from across the world looking at our students’ artwork is amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Art is a visual language and is understood globally, and opportunities like this and the Shorelines Project don’t come along very often. Molly, Scarlet and Katie have created these pieces to show their concerns about global warming and I’m really proud they’ve taken this opportunity.”

Open Event success as demand for Ron Dearing UTC places continues to grow

Hundreds of prospective students who hope to join Ron Dearing UTC next year attended an the first of three Open Events to find out more about the pioneering school.

Potential students and their parents heard from Principal Sarah Pashley, met the Ron Dearing UTC team, University and Employer Partners and current and former students, as well as enjoying a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities.

Those who hope to join Year 10 and Year 12 in September 2022 asked questions about Ron Dearing UTC’s curriculum and specialisms while finding out about potential opportunities open to them, such as apprenticeships, work experience placements, further and higher education options and a host of enrichment activities designed to develop their personal and employability skills.

Prospect Year 10 student Tom Pollard with parents Ian and Emma


The Ofsted Outstanding school has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017. A total of 300 places are available in September 2022 and over 450 applications have already been received.

Tom Pollard, 13, from Beverley, attended the event with his parents, Ian and Emma, and hopes to secure a place in Year 10 next year.

Tom said: “I’m really interested in art and I’m very impressed with the facilities at Ron Dearing UTC. I looked it up online and I’m glad I came to have a look around. You work a 40-hour week here, which I wouldn’t mind.”

Dad Ian said: “I like the way learning is structured into a proper working week at Ron Dearing UTC and the professional environment it offers. They give the students more responsibility and opportunities while treating them as adults.”

Prospective Year 10 student Mercedez Smith with mum Jade


Mum Jade Smith took her daughter, Mercedez, 13, to the Open Event and said she sees great potential in her daughter becoming a Ron Dearing UTC Year 10 student.

Jade, from north Hull, said: “I think Mercedez will grow and learn so much here and there will be so many opportunities for her. The school is amazing.”


Joe Benson, 13, from east Hull, enjoyed the Open Event with his parents, Donna and Keith, and found out more about engineering from Clive Isaacs, the school’s Engineering Instructor for Manufacturing.

Joe said: “I prefer practical learning such as programming and designing and I want to try everything. I like the equipment and 3D printers at Ron Dearing UTC and I really hope I get a place in Year 10 next year.”

Prospective Year 12 student James Taylor with parents James and Siobhan


James Taylor, 15, from Anlaby, was accompanied by his parents, James and Siobhan, at the Open Event and hopes to join Year 12 in September 2022.

James said: “Having so many great Employer Partners involved in the school sets you up for the future and they have a big focus on behaviour and professionalism, which is great. The school days may be longer, but it helps to get you ready for work.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC student Elliott Sargeson joined Major Partner Arco as a Business Analyst Apprentice last year and returned to the school to speak to prospective students about the opportunities available to them in the future.

Elliott said: “Being a student at Ron Dearing UTC is such a big opportunity and I’ve never looked back. It’s such a supportive and encouraging environment and it gave me so much confidence to progress. It’s great to meet so many prospective students and share that with them.”

Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, Reckitt, Siemens Gamesa, Smith + Nephew and Spencer Group. The school is also supported by other industry leading businesses and organisations including Hull City Council, Arco, INEOS, C4DI, Ideal Boilers, Fujitsu, Luxinar, Kohler Mira, Sauce, Sonoco Trident and more.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley speaks to prospective students and their parents at the Open Event


Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We had a fantastic response to our first Open Event and we were delighted to meet so many prospective new students and parents who were all eager to learn more about Ron Dearing UTC.

“We love the opportunity to showcase our amazing school and share with people the opportunities available here. It’s also fantastic to be reunited with so many of our ex-students who have gone on to great careers with our Employer Partners and attend our Open Events to talk about their experiences.

“We could have filled our school three times over last year and the demand for places continues to grow.  It’s extremely rewarding that so many young people and their parents believe in our radical employer-led approach to the curriculum and want to be a part of our school community.

“We’re proud to produce young people who are ready to hit the ground running when they leave, taking with them the professional values and behaviours we instil and making really valuable contributions to the regional and national economy.

“Places for our next two Open Events  on November 11th and January 13th are filling up fast and we encourage those who wish to join us in Year 10 or Year 12 next year to book a place and find out how we can help them get the edge.”

Applications for places in Year 10 must be received by January 31st 2022 at which point the over-subscription criteria will be employed to allocate the 150 places. Year 12 students need to apply as soon as possible, and no later than May 2022.  To find out more, apply and/or book onto an open event, click here.