Three more leading businesses partner with Ron Dearing UTC to open up exciting opportunities for students

Three more leading businesses have teamed up with Ron Dearing UTC to open up further exciting opportunities for students and help shape their potential future employees.

Graphics and signage experts Designs Signage Solutions and specialist pipework fabricators and steelwork erectors CDS Energy Services have become Major Partners, while overhead line, underground cable and substation system leaders LSTC Group has become a Partner.

Working alongside the school’s Founding Partners, the Ofsted Outstanding-rated school’s Major Partners and Partners develop and deliver employer-led projects, provide work experience placements and lead the careers information, advice and guidance programme.

Major Partners also play a key role in the development of the UTC’s unique, employer-engaged curriculum, while both Partners and Major Partners contribute financially to the school and recruit many students as apprentices within their businesses.

Established almost 30 years ago, Hull-based Designs Signage Solutions has grown to a 41-strong team operating from 48,000sq ft premises, offering bespoke briefs, designs and installation signage solutions to retail, corporate, sports stadia, vehicle livery and building sectors across the UK.

From left, Richard Shipley, Finance Director at LSTC Group, Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, Chris Murphy, Drawing Manager at Designs Signage Solutions, and Danny Laybourne, Managing Director of CDS Energy Solutions.


Drawing Manager Chris Murphy said becoming a Ron Dearing UTC Major Partner will help to establish a new pipeline of talent in the industry and the company has already employed one former Ron Dearing UTC student, Ben Moodie, as a trainee in the Graphics Production department.

He said: “We want to engage with young talent and this partnership gives us a platform to work with the students, identify rising stars before they leave school and show them our industry and what we’re about.

“Ron Dearing UTC acclimatises its students to a full working week, rather than a normal school day, to help them get ready for work. By working together and playing a part in the curriculum, we’ll be able to help to shape what we want to see in our future employees.”

CDS, which has its head office at Burma Drive in east Hull, works in the oil, gas, petrochemical and nuclear industries. The business has 30 staff and dozens of additional subcontractors, with clients including Tricoya, Vivergo Fuels, px Group, Mitsubishi and more.

Managing Director Danny Laybourne said the business plans to take on Ron Dearing UTC students as apprentices in the future, potentially including in Planning and Quality Assurance (QA) roles.

He said: “There’s a lack of young people coming through in this industry and we can see that shortage of quality continuing, which is why we wanted to get involved in Ron Dearing UTC.

“With Ron Dearing students, we won’t have to start from scratch because they will have completed courses which stand them in good stead to progress within the industry.”

New Partner LSTC Group provides engineering solutions to the electricity sector, specialising in the design and survey of overhead lines, underground cables and substation systems in the UK and internationally. Alongside it’s Driffield head office, the company also has offices in Belfast, Derby, London and South Wales.

From left, Danny Laybourne, Managing Director of CDS Energy Solutions, Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, Richard Shipley, Finance Director at LSTC Group, and Chris Murphy, Drawing Manager at Designs Signage Solutions.


Finance Director Richard Shipley said the company is keen to increase his 85‐strong workforce to 100 within the next two years, including more women in engineering, and plans to offer opportunities for work experience, apprenticeships and paid employment to Ron Dearing UTC students.

He said: “I believe that in order to fulfil all of the ambitious plans to achieve carbon net zero and clean energy, it will require a lot of work on infrastructure across the country and globally. There are not enough engineers in the world to do that work and the only solution is to bring more people into engineering.

“We want to be part of encouraging people to come into this industry and Ron Dearing UTC is doing a great job of facilitating that.”

Every one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Year 13 students have gone on to exciting apprenticeships, university, employment, further education or the Armed Forces for three consecutive years.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Designs Signage Solutions and CDS Energy Services as Major Partners and LSTC Group as a Partner.

“Their decades of combined experience will be invaluable to our students and open up further career opportunities in these growing industries.”

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.

The school’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, Reckitt, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Spencer Group.

It is also supported by Hull City Council and many other industry partners, including Arco, C4DI, Fujitsu, Green Port Hull, Ideal Boilers, INEOS Acetyls, Kohler Mira, Luxinar, NEC Software Solutions, Ørsted, Sauce, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.

Students work with Mexican artist to create climate change mural

Fine art and photography students at Ron Dearing UTC have completed a colourful mural to raise awareness of climate change.

Nine Year 11 students worked with Mexican mural artist Gustavo Chavez Pavon to show the impact climate change and flooding could have on Hull in the future as part of the Shorelines Project.

Gustavo, who works across the world, recently created a mural at Scottish Opera’s production studios in Glasgow during the global United Nations (UN) climate change conference COP26.

He said: “This is a very good example of hands-on learning and the students have brought their individual styles to the mural. I’ve really enjoyed working with them and everyone involved.”

The Shorelines Project was created by Rights : Community : Action, a coalition of campaigners, lawyers, planners, facilitators, writers and scientists with a shared commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

Ron Dearing UTC students working on the mural.


The group is working in partnership with Drunk Animal Creative Studio in Hull, linking action to art through a series of large scale murals across the city.

The mural, which also involved Friends of the Earth and local artists, now needs a home and the team behind the project are looking for a prominent public space in Hull to display the piece.

Jonny Winn, Project Manager at Drunk Animal Creative Studio, said: “Our generation and generations before haven’t done enough to tackle climate change and these students are the future.

“They are very passionate about climate change and that comes through in the mural, which shows the tidal barrier breaking, butterflies, bees and flooding. We’re now looking for somewhere to display it for all to see.”

Rights : Community : Action Chief Executive Naomi Luhde-Thompson said: “I’m blown away by the mural. It’s so powerful and the students have put so much work into it. It shows a lot of hope and energy and it’s really positive. It’s their future and their voice, which is what’s important.”

Year 11 students Samuel Fewlass and Emma Giblin.


Lynn Garland-Collins, Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, praised the students for their enthusiasm and creativity.

She said: “I’m extremely proud of our students and over moon with what they have achieved.

“Art is a visual language and it’s fantastic to see their ideas come together. This has been a truly unique experience and it’s wonderful for them to work with Gustavo.”

Student Samuel Fewlass, 15, said: “Creating the mural was fun and a new experience. I’m proud to be part of it and I think we’ve got the climate change message across.”

Fellow student Emma Giblin, 15, said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s great to be able to share our artwork and see what other people think.”

Talent-scouted student Harry signs for Hull KR Under 16s

A Ron Dearing UTC student has been signed by Hull Kingston Rovers to pursue his rugby passion in the club’s Under 16s team.

Harry Wilson, 15, has been offered a scholarship by the Robins after he was spotted by a talent scout during a match for his current club, West Hull Under 16s.

The Year 11 student currently plays in the number 9 Hooker position and hopes to take up a similar position when he starts his new sporting venture in the east of the city this month.

Harry, who has played rugby since the age of nine, said: “I’m really happy I’ve been approached and offered this chance. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it has given me a confidence boost and my family and friends are so excited.

“A talent scout saw me in action and said they wanted a defensive Hooker who isn’t scared to get stuck in, which is great.

Harry Wilson is delighted to have signed for Hull KR.


“It’s really important to have an education as well as playing rugby, which is why I wanted to come to Ron Dearing UTC. You need skills and knowledge under your belt and you can’t just be good at rugby.

“I’m really interested in Engineering and I’d like to stay on in Ron Dearing’s sixth form, learning alongside my rugby scholarship. I can’t wait to get started.”

Harry, who said he will also continue playing for West Hull in the short term, will train with the Under 16s on the 4G pitch at The Marvell College in east Hull each week, as well as training in the gym at the Hull College Craven Park Stadium, the home of Hull KR.

He will follow a healthy diet and learn the importance of nutrition and exercise as part of his scholarship, setting him up for a positive start in rugby league.

Harry said: “You have to share what we eat and you’re rewarded for looking after yourself and eating properly. We’ll be playing against strong teams and it’s important to look after your health.”

Harry Wilson can’t wait to start his rugby scholarship.


Steve Willacy, Head of School at Ron Dearing UTC, said Harry has a bright future ahead of him.

He said: “We’re incredibly proud of Harry for securing this scholarship and it will be a great opportunity for him to pursue a sport he’s really passionate about.

“Sport promotes great physical and mental health and we encourage our students to embrace opportunities such as this to broaden their horizons in addition to their school lives.

“Harry is very committed to his schoolwork and we have no doubt he will excel in rugby too. We wish him all the very best.”

Founding and Employer Partners help students prepare to make outstanding first impressions

Year 13 students at Ron Dearing UTC took part in a range of workshops last week to give them the edge when applying for apprenticeships, employment or university places.

Representatives from several of the school’s Founding and Employer Partners spent time with almost 130 students across three days, helping them develop their professional profiles for CVs and application forms and sharing interview techniques before putting them through mock interviews.

The workshops also provided an ideal opportunity for the students to make a strong impression with the Employer Partners, which include some of the region’s leading businesses, ahead of the next round of applications for 2022 apprenticeships.

Harper Fox Partners, a Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, is an innovative recruitment company pioneering leadership and executive search solutions for the global energy, engineering, technology and manufacturing industries. The company was founded by The Apprentice 2019 finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton. Lord Sugar, who hosts the hit BBC television series, has since invested in her business.

Scarlett and the company’s Business Development Manager Luke Munday shared CV writing and pitching skills, as well as top tips on how students can promote their ‘personal brand’ and profiles to make a positive first impression.

Ron Dearing UTC students taking part in the workshops.


Students were encouraged to work in groups to share their ideas before volunteers presented their pitch to their peers, encouraging confidence and leadership.

Scarlett spoke to the students as part of Harper Fox Partners’ ‘From Classroom to Boardroom Alliance’, which inspires students to be the best they can be at the highest level.

The Alliance recognises skills shortages within the energy, technology and engineering sectors across the world and aims to encourage young people, particularly young women, to pursue a career within these industries.

Scarlett said: “It was brilliant to meet the students and they were all so passionate and engaged.

“They have so many opportunities open to them through Ron Dearing UTC. It’s a privilege to be able to share knowledge and expertise that will hopefully support the next generation of leaders in our sectors, which we are so passionate about.”

Luke said: “The students are going away from this workshop knowing how to promote themselves.”

Students also took part in workshops about how to stand out from the crowd with representatives from Founding Partners Siemens Gamesa and Spencer Group.

This Siemens Gamesa session focused on how to complete application forms effectively and perform well at interview to set them apart from other applicants, as well as more on personal brand, values, strengths, skills and achievements.

Jamie Mears and Haitam Amudi.


The Spencer Group session focused on potential negative features of an interview and how best for students to introduce themselves, alongside a presentation on top tips for online and in-person interviews.

Mock interviews then took place with 20 representatives from Founding and Employer Partners to enable the students to practice their interview technique and receive feedback from professionals about what they did well and how they could improve.

Lisa Regan, Assistant Principal for Professional Qualifications at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It was an extremely valuable week for our Year 13 students and a fantastic opportunity to have industry professionals offering them one-to-one and group advice.

“Being able to promote themselves really well and talk confidently about their own skills and qualities will help our students progress to where they want to be in the future.

“We’re grateful to all of our Founding and Employer Partners for giving up their time to share their wealth of knowledge, experience and professional guidance. It really will make a difference as our students choose their next steps.”

Year 13 student Haitam Amudi, 18, said the workshops were extremely informative and useful.

He said: “Harper Fox Partners gave us an insight into how to write a professional profile and deliver it. They also provided us with a really professional CV template. It was a very valuable experience.”

Fellow Year 13 student Jamie Mears, 18, said: “We found out more about the importance of not over-talking in interviews and sharing our personal achievements, but also asking questions about the company you’re being interviewed for. I found it really helpful.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC students are in safe hands with apprenticeships at Arco

Four former Ron Dearing UTC students have hit the ground running in digital apprenticeship roles at the UK’s leading safety company.

Arco, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Major Partners, has recently moved to a state-of-the-art new office in the thriving Fruit Market waterfront area of Hull and is expanding its digital capabilities as the business continues to grow.

Chloe Marshall is working in the Project Management Office (PMO), Ben Maycock and Kai Ingram have taken on digital engineering roles and James Swinbourne has joined Arco’s cyber security team.

From left, apprentices James Swinburne, Chloe Marshall, Ben Maycock and Kai Ingram, with Neil Cavill, Head of Business Improvement at Arco, centre. Picture: Hull News and Pictures. 


Apprentice Software Developer Chloe said: “I’ve settled into Arco really well and everyone is so supportive and welcoming. I’ve already learnt so much and I’m glad I’ve joined the company.

The apprentices, all aged 18, will receive guidance from an Arco business mentor as well as first-hand support from former Ron Dearing UTC students who are already working in the business.

The support structure will provide a strong foundation as the apprentices complete Arco’s two-year “Future Experts” programme.

First launched in 2016, the programme has now seen almost 40 apprentices taken on to develop the next generation of talent, cementing Arco’s commitment to the city and its significant investment plan to support the growth of its business.

Neil Cavill, Head of Business Improvement at Arco and a Governor at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re delighted that Chloe, Ben, Kai and James 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.”