Year 12 students set to snap up summer work experience opportunities

Year 12 students at Ron Dearing UTC are being offered exciting work experience placements and workshops to equip them with industry skills and knowledge while working with potential future employers.

Nine of the region’s leading businesses and organisations are offering a broad range of summer placements for successful candidates and students are being encouraged to submit CVs and covering letters ahead of formal interviews.

It comes as some of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding and Employer Partners recently held CV writing workshops and mock interviews with Year 12 students to help them prepare for the work experience application and interview process, offering them constructive feedback on their approach.

Almost 160 Year 12 students will compete against their peers for highly sought-after work experience placements and workshop opportunities at:

  • Advanced Plastics
  • BACB
  • Bonus Plug-In-Systems
  • Kohler Mira
  • Pure Renewables
  • Smarter Britain
  • Smith+Nephew
  • Spencer Group

The opportunities, which will run from between one and four weeks, include joining design, engineering, manufacturing and project teams, placements focused on renewable energy, electrical engineering roles, and robotics, mechatronics, data and computer science-focused placements.

Students can also apply for an “Introduction to Industry Skills” workshop, offering them a two-day insight into engineering practices at CATCH in Stallingborough, North East Lincolnshire.

In addition, prominent entrepreneur, adventurer and speaker Kevin Gaskell and some of the region’s business leaders will bring their three-day Smarter Britain workshop to Ron Dearing UTC in August.

Designed to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, Smarter Britain will offer up to 30 students the chance to learn about exploring alternative careers, identifying commercial opportunities, creating businesses, problem solving and more.

Lisa Regan, Assistant Principal for Professional Qualifications at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re grateful to all of the businesses and organisations for offering these amazing opportunities to our students.

“The placements will help them gain further insight into specialist industry areas and benefit from hands-on experience. They’ll have the chance to make a positive impression on potential future employers and it will help them consider which path they may like to choose after Year 13.

“Some businesses have been very specific about placement criteria, as they know the areas they’d like to recruit to in the future, so it’s a great opportunity for them to potentially cherry pick their future employees at the earliest opportunity.”

Further information about each work experience placement is available in school.

Students must submit their CVs and cover letters here by Friday, June 10th, while those applying for placements with Spencer Group should complete the dedicated application form available from Ron Dearing staff members Kathy King, Sam Caley or Lisa Regan.

Four new members further strengthen Ron Dearing UTC’s Governing Board

Ron Dearing UTC’s Governing Board has welcomed four new members to help shape the future of the employer-led school.

Tim Shaw, Jason Speedy, Laura Botham and John Hutchinson have joined the board as governors and each bring a wealth of experience to the team at the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated UTC.

Tim has recently been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of leading Hull-based digital technology, communications and IT services provider KCOM, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners.

He previously held the position of Managing Director of KCOM Wholesale and Networks for almost three years and fulfilled various technology and engineering roles at major telecommunications company BT over a 14-year period.

Tim said: “I’m pleased and proud to join the board and give something back. We want to help the next generation.

Clockwise from top left, Tim Shaw, John Hutchinson, Laura Botham and Jason Speedy.


“The UTC’s link to business and industry is really important. Its approach and model of education is empowering for its students and you can see how passionate the staff are.”

Jason is Chief Operating Officer at global heating solutions company Groupe Atlantic, the parent company of market leading brands including Hull-based Ideal Heating, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Major Partners. He is re-joining the board as a governor after stepping down from his role as Deputy Chair in 2019.

Jason was previously Digital Programs Director and Plant Director for Wind Power at Siemens Gamesa, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, and was part of the team which was instrumental in establishing the employer-led school before it opened its doors in 2017.

Jason, whose son Lewis, now 20, was the first student to register to join Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form to pursue a career in engineering, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to re-join the board and am looking forward to offering support in shaping the curriculum and setting industry-standard projects for the students.

“Ron Dearing UTC is second to none and has set the benchmark for this model of education, and I say this as a parent, an employer partner and a governor.

“I don’t think there is another school in the country, particularly from an engineering perspective, which teaches and encourages employer engagement in this way. It ticks all the boxes and sets new standards.”

Laura is Human Resources (HR) Partner at Siemens Gamesa, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, which has world-class wind turbine manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations at Alexandra Dock in Hull.

She sits on the UTC’s Employability Skills Sub-Committee and supports workshops with the school’s Year 12 students, encouraging them to consider personal branding ahead of preparing CVs and applications.  She is an advocate of employer partnerships and encourages likeminded organisations to get involved.

Laura said: “I’m really excited to join the board as it reinforces my passion for boosting opportunities for young people in Hull and creating future talent.

“It’s inspiring that Ron Dearing UTC has broken the mould of a conventional school and the pace it moves forward at is something to be envied. Having employer-led projects and opportunities for the students to learn more about what businesses want gives them the best foot in the door.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley.


“Ron Dearing UTC is providing their young people with great insight while building a better future in the Humber Estuary.”

John is a Senior Partner at leading UK law firm BDB Pitmans, which operates in Reading, London, Southampton and Cambridge.

He is also a non-executive director and investor in several technology companies and was previously chairman of a medical devices company, as well as managing partner of a private equity investment business.

John said: “The country’s focus on providing engineering and technology skills will be crucial going forward and I’m delighted to be part of that by joining the Governing Board at Ron Dearing UTC.

“I’ve known and respected the work of the school’s Principal, Sarah Pashley, for many years and been aware of Ron Dearing UTC since its inception. The school is providing a great pathway for students and offering industry level training for young people who will be the future of the country.”

Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged from 14 to 19 and offers a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

Ron Dearing UTC Chair of Governors Richard Martin, Customer Experience Director at Arco, one of the school’s Major Partners, welcomed the appointments.

He said: “Were delighted that Tim, Jason, Laura and John have joined our Governing Board and bring such a vast amount of experience and knowledge.

“Having a strong team to support and guide the school is essential and these welcome additions will certainly bolster the existing dedicated team as Ron Dearing UTC continues to go from strength to strength.”

Teachers and former students become colleagues in Ron Dearing UTC engineering team

The majority of Ron Dearing UTC’s engineering department comprises of teachers and their former students who have become colleagues to inspire the next generation.

Simon I’Anson is the employer-led school’s Deputy Head of Engineering and taught Glenn Jensen, who is now Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at the UTC, at Beverley College, now known as East Riding College.

Simon also taught current Ron Dearing UTC engineering teacher Lee Ray, Engineering Technician Cieran Dowling and Engineering Teaching Assistant Charlie Halliday during their time as students at East Riding College.

Glenn later secured an engineering teaching job at East Riding College, becoming Simon’s colleague rather than student, and went on to teach Lee, Cieran, Charlie and Engineering Teaching Assistant Cheikh Diaw. Current Ron Dearing engineering teacher Clive Isaacs also taught Lee, Cieran, Charlie and Cheikh at East Riding College, before joining the UTC.

Simon, a motor vehicle lecturer of 22 years, also manufactured wind turbine blades at Siemens Gamesa, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, before joining the school in November 2017, the year it opened its doors.

From Left, Lee Ray, Simon I’Anson, Glenn Jensen, Cheikh Diaw, Cieran Dowling and Charlie Halliday.


He said: “It’s a never-ending cascade of knowledge which continues to be passed down.

“I began teaching Glenn in 1999 when he was a motor vehicle apprentice and he was an exceptional student, winning Apprentice of the Year twice. I was also engineering lecturer for Cieran, Charlie and Lee, teaching them certain units.

“It makes me proud and proves that all those years of teaching were worthwhile, not just in bringing students on in qualifications but also seeing them develop as individuals.

“The model of education at Ron Dearing UTC goes hand in hand with industry and employer partnerships to give the students amazing opportunities. This is 100% the way forward in education.”

Glenn, who also joined Ron Dearing UTC when it opened in 2017, said the whole team prides itself on providing first class education to Ron Dearing UTC students.

He said: “I see it as a team of home-grown talent inspiring the next generation of teachers to go into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and industry.

Ron Dearing UTC’s engineering department comprises of teachers and their former students.


“When you hear about the destinations Ron Dearing UTC students have moved on to and see them securing their dream jobs in the engineering sector, that’s the icing on the cake for me.”

Lee, who has also worked at the UTC since it opened in September 2017, said: “Knowing each other as we do makes working together much easier. We have that element of trust and you know what everyone is thinking. We’re one big team.”

Charlie, who has been part of the team since December 2021, said: “Colleagues who were previously my teachers still teach me now. They help and support me to do my job here with great guidance.”

Cheikh, a member of the team since January 2021, said: “When I was given the opportunity to work at Ron Dearing UTC, I didn’t hesitate. The students have the chance to do theory and practical work and they’re ready for employment straight away.”

Cieran, who joined the team in September 2019, said: “My teachers have become my colleagues and I’m really proud to work at Ron Dearing UTC.”

Ron Dearing UTC art students draw new ideas from London galleries trip

A group of Ron Dearing UTC art students are using their visit to some of London’s most popular galleries for inspiration.

Ten Year 12 and 13 students travelled to the capital to visit the Tate, Whitechapel, Eden and various independent galleries on a day-long visit capturing sculpture, film and sound installations.

They also took photographs in London’s popular Spitalfields Market and Covent Garden and saw various landmarks as they took in the sights and sounds of the city on foot.

Ron Dearing UTC art students in London.


Lynn Garland-Collins, Senior Assistant Principal and Director of Creativity at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students loved it and the feedback has been really positive. They were buzzing with excitement and all they talked about was planning the next trip.

“It’s important for them to see the different types and range of art out there and many of the students hadn’t been to London before, so they were completely out of the environment they’re used to. It was a fantastic and worthwhile trip.”

Year 12 student Erin Rowe, 16, said: “It was exciting and inspiring and we saw a lot in the time we had.

Art students from Ron Dearing UTC are taking inspiration from their trip to the capital.


“The Tate was fantastic and the visit showed me that everything doesn’t have to be perfect in art because it’s about your interpretation of things. I’d love to go back to London and see it all again.”

Year 12 student Emilie Cattaneo-Bower, 17, said: “I loved every minute of the trip and the Tate was filled with sculptures, which I love. I’ve created a sculpture for my coursework, so it gave me a lot of inspiration.

“I’m so pleased we were able to go on the trip this year, as we weren’t able to during Covid, and I’m looking forward to similar opportunities in the future.”

Ron Dearing UTC to increase student numbers after planning approval for expansion

Hull’s pioneering Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has been given the go-ahead to expand and increase its capacity.

The Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated school will be able to offer an additional 200 student places after Hull City Council approved its expansion plans.

The first phase of the work to reconfigure the UTC’s existing building in Kingston Square, including two new science labs and a Sixth Form Independent Study Centre, is expected to be complete by August, enabling the employer-led school to welcome a further 80 students from September.

A new hi-tech learning centre will also be created in the former Central Fire Station, next to the school, which will be home to an exhibition centre, a Renewables Innovation Lab, a Sixth Form Centre and a state-of-the-art Centre for Creativity known as “STEAM Studios”, representing the school’s specialisms in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

Opening in May 2023, STEAM Studios will comprise of three art and design studios, a ceramics studio, a Mac computer suite, recording studio, film-making facilities and exhibition and performance spaces. This facility will enable an additional 120 students to attend Ron Dearing UTC from September next year.

An artist’s impression of Ron Dearing UTC’s expansion.


It comes after the Department for Education’s Post-16 Capacity Fund awarded the school substantial grant funding to grow from 600 to 800 students in response to the huge demand for student places.

Sarah Pashley, Principal of Ron Dearing UTC, which has been over-subscribed every year since it opened in 2017, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Hull City Council has approved our planning application for the redevelopment of the former fire station building and we can now move forward with our exciting expansion plans.

“I’d like to thank the council and our partners for all their support in helping us continue to grow, enabling us to offer more students the unique Ron Dearing UTC experience.

“The project will prioritise sustainable design and build solutions and focus on the latest green technologies, reinforcing our commitment to decarbonisation, and we’re working with our employer partners to put sustainability at the heart of our curriculum.

“We’ve appointed the Ron Dearing UTC Student Design and Build Team to work alongside the professionals, offering them a fantastic opportunity to build on their knowledge of budgeting, design, overcoming challenges, sustainability and environmental considerations.

“We’re already incredibly proud of the employer-led education model we offer at Ron Dearing UTC and this expansion will enable us to build on that, creating more work-ready young people of the future.”

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley.


Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd is acting as project managers on the project, Space Architects drew up the plans and Sewell Construction has been appointed to complete the work.

The team and other partners are working to ensure the former Central Fire Station retains its original character and has the lowest possible carbon footprint.

Mark Jones, Director of Regeneration for Hull City Council, said: “We’re very pleased to support the expansion of Ron Dearing UTC, utilising the former fire station owned by the city council.

“The school has been a huge success story for Hull, ensuring our young people can reach their full potential in careers aligned to the needs of the local business community.

“This expansion will bring the building back into beneficial use, provide further outstanding facilities for students and add to the vibrancy of our city centre.”

Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged from 14 to 19 and offers a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

The expansion will enable an additional 200 students to study Level 3 qualifications in engineering, creative and digital and provide local industry with an additional 100 highly skilled and qualified potential employees every year.

Ron Dearing UTC student takes on Nepal’s highest trekking peak in charity challenge

A 15-year-old Ron Dearing UTC student who took on a major trekking challenge in Nepal has raised £1,500 for a charity which supports disabled children and their families.

Year 10 student Matthew Preston-Blake and his father Kris Blake took on the daunting task of tackling Mera Peak, the highest trekking peak in Nepal at 6,476 metres.

Despite missing the summit by just 400 metres due to extreme weather and Kris experiencing food poisoning twice, they raised £1,500 for Freddie’s Friends, a Hull-based charity which provides specialist equipment, support and respite for disabled youngsters and their families.

Their adventure tested their stamina to the limit, as they faced sweltering heat during the day and below zero temperatures overnight while sleeping in basic lodges.

Kris said their highly experienced climbing Sherpa guide, Tashi, who had already trekked to the summit of Mera Peak seven times since March, believed Matthew was the youngest western person to take on the gruelling challenge.

Ron Dearing UTC student Matthew Preston-Blake and his father Kris Blake on Mera Peak.


It comes after Matthew, accompanied by Kris, became one of the youngest ever people to reach Everest Base Camp when he was just 12 years old, raising more than £1,500 for the Hull 4 Heroes charity.

Matthew said: “Mera Peak was very hard and Everest Base Camp was easy compared to that. We trekked for 13 days in total and we climbed and trekked for nine hours on the longest day.

“I learnt a lot about different cultures and facts about the mountains. If you’d told me when I was younger that I’d be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed it.

“We had to rope up, use crampons and cross crevasses but it hasn’t put me off taking on a similar challenge again.”

Following the trek, Matthew and Kris were invited to Tashi’s house to meet his wife and daughter and enjoy a traditional Nepalese meal together.

Matthew Preston-Blake with climbing Sherpa guide, Tashi, and his wife and daughter.


Tashi was previously part of a team which attempted to scale the south face of Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world at 8,516 metres, but an avalanche forced them to abandon the challenge on the border of Tibet and Nepal in 2019. He gave Matthew his jacket from the expedition as a memento.

Kris, Director of Hull and Leeds-based AJ Building, a Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, reached 6,000 metres on the trek and said the experience will stay with him forever.

He said: “With travelling and delays, we’d been awake for 28 hours by the time we reached our hotel and we were collected to leave for the start of the trek at 5am the next morning.

“I got food poisoning twice but I carried on for as long as possible, even early in the trek on day two.

“The weather conditions and adjusting to the altitude was so tough and someone had to be taken off the mountain by helicopter because he was snow blind.

Matthew Preston-Blake and his father Kris Blake have raised £1,500 for charity Freddie’s Friends.


“We managed to reach the high camp, which was about 400m off the summit. It would have been about a five-hour slow walk to get there and we could even see Mount Everest and snow leopard tracks.

“It’s one of the hardest physical challenges I’ve ever taken on but Matthew kept me going and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I’m just sorry he couldn’t reach the summit but he tried so hard and reached 6,100 metres.

“We’re really pleased to have raised money for Freddie’s Friends and grateful to everyone who sponsored us.”

Freddie’s Friends was set up by Mark and Rachel Appleyard in memory of their two-year-old son Freddie, who was born with a rare brain disorder and died in December 2008 after battling a series of serious health complications since birth.

Kris and Matthew covered the entire cost of the trek themselves, ensuring every penny raised will be donated directly to Freddie’s Friends.

Year 10 student Matthew Preston-Blake and his father Kris Blake tested their stamina to the limit on their trekking challenge.


Rachel, who is also Key Stage 4 Information, Advice and Guidance Mentor at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I’m so glad Matthew and Kris are back safe and had such an amazing experience. But I’m also incredibly grateful for the fantastic amount of the money they raised.

“It will make a huge difference to at least five children and their families and they’ve also helped the spread the word about Freddie and the charity, keeping Freddie’s memory alive.

“I never want people to forget who Freddie was and that’s why this amazing achievement by Matthew and Kris means so much.”

Anyone who would like to add to Matthew and Kris’ fundraising total can donate online via

Students inspired by gallery and sculpture park visit

Ron Dearing UTC art and photography students were inspired by a visit to two of Yorkshire’s leading cultural attractions.

More than 30 Year 10 and Year 12 students spent a morning at The Hepworth Wakefield gallery followed by an afternoon at the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a picnic in the grounds.

They completed artistic tasks set by Ron Dearing UTC staff, including work based around a sculpture dedicated to Chinese New Year, and took pictures and sketched as they toured the exhibitions and followed the interactive sculpture trail.

Ron Dearing UTC students at The Hepworth Wakefield.


It was the first time the employer-led school’s art and photography students have been able to participate in an external visit since Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed.

Lynn Garland-Collins, Senior Assistant Principal and Director of Creativity at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The aim was to open up the students’ minds to the possibilities of art and use that to inspire the work they do in the classroom, while also helping them to realise their own creative potential.  The hands-on experience will also maximise their progress in their GCSE and A-level coursework.

“The students were so enthusiastic. They saw 2D and 3D art, video, installations, sculptures and lots of different media throughout the day and it was lovely to hear such positive feedback from them.”

Students at Ron Dearing UTC have been inspired by a visit to The Hepworth Wakefield gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


Year 10 student Josh Robson, 15, said: “I really enjoyed the trip and it was great to walk around the sculpture park. You can experience different forms of art there and it helps to enrich you as a person.”

Fellow Year 10 student Finley Wilson, 15, said: “I found the trip really inspiring and it showed me that art can be simple yet complex at the same time. I want to incorporate that into my work.”

Samanta Anpilogova, 14, also in Year 10, said: “It was a fun and memorable experience and I found it interesting to see art in different environments. You can take inspiration from different artists and it’s much better to see it in person than online.”

Ron Dearing UTC students enjoying Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


Year 12 and 13 art students are now preparing for a trip to London on May 6th, which will see them visit the Tate, Saatchi and Whitechapel galleries to support their studies.

Lynn said: “London is the cultural capital and it’s fantastic that we’re helping our students get into the habit of visiting art galleries in person.

“Experiences like this are invaluable and we’re looking forward to involving more of our students in similar trips in the future.”