UTC employer partners embrace termly news and networking event

Representatives from Ron Dearing UTC’s employer partners attended an event to find out how they can help shape the curriculum this year and celebrate the school’s recent successes.

The school’s second employer breakfast meeting saw staff from almost 20 businesses attend and enjoy breakfast and networking, including Founding Partners, Major Partners and Partners.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, told attendees how they can help to influence the curriculum, including attending open evenings, leading student CV workshops and mock interview sessions, giving inspiring industry-led talks and offering opportunities to students seeking apprenticeships.

He also shared the school’s recent outstanding A-level, GCSE and technical qualification results, highlighting the record achievements and celebrating fantastic outcomes despite the challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employer partners taking part in the breakfast meeting.


Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley provided the employer partners with an update on the school’s expansion plans to meet increasing demand for places.

Following significant funding from the Department for Education (DfE), work to remodel the existing school building is now complete and work is underway to transform the former Central Fire Station next door to the school.

The former fire station will include an exhibition centre, three art and design studios, two digital studios, a sixth form centre and additional office space.

Glenn said: “We’re holding the employer breakfast meetings once every term and it was fantastic to see such a good turnout for our second event.

“It’s a really exciting time for Ron Dearing UTC and we’re going from strength to strength. We’re incredibly grateful to our employer partners for their continued support to inspire our students.”

Ron Dearing UTC’s employer partners listening to Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering.


Kristiana Klasena, Talent Acquisition Specialist at KCOM, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, said: “The employer breakfast meetings keep us up to date with Ron Dearing UTC’s latest news and keep us connected.

“We’re looking forward to taking on more talented Ron Dearing UTC apprentices in the near future.”

Rachael Taylor, Junior Talent Acquisition and HR Advisor at rural internet specialist Quickline, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Major Partners, said: “It’s our first year as a Major Partner and it’s good for us to network with other businesses to see how they approach taking on apprentices from the UTC.

“We want to develop the younger generation to help them understand what opportunities are available to them in the future.”

Dedicated culture programme launched to broaden students’ horizons

Ron Dearing UTC students experienced a week of engaging and exciting events at the launch of a dedicated programme to promote culture and creativity.

The aim of the programme is to give students access to art, literature, film, music, politics, science and more, opening their eyes to the wider world and broadening their horizons beyond the classroom.

The launch week saw jugglers, an opera singer, a pianist, acrobats, fire performers, circus workshops and artists fill the students’ breaks and lunchtimes with performances, art and culture to inspire them.

Year 10 students will have one dedicated Cultural Capital lesson per week throughout the academic year and any related content will be flagged to all students with a logo as they continue their studies and become more aware of their cultural learning.

Chris Berry, Assistant Principal Cultural capital at Ron Dearing UTC, who is leading the Cultural Capital programme, said: “Cultural Capital is the golden thread that runs through education. It’s about giving students access to the best that has been thought and said.

Ron Dearing UTC students enjoying the launch of Cultural Capital.


“Cultural Capital is clearly visible in all lessons, including Science, Maths and Engineering, and we want to draw attention to that to encourage our students to look beyond the curriculum. In Maths, for example, it’s important students know John Venn came from Hull and invented the Venn Diagram.

“These lessons will be informative and enjoyable and we can plan the programme around what’s going on in the world.

“School isn’t just about passing exams. It’s about who we are, who we want to become and enjoying the world around us. We do things differently at Ron Dearing UTC and students can expect the unexpected. If they become interested in just one element, that’s our mission accomplished.”

The Cultural Capital programme will include various elements including music and writing linked to Black History Month, LGBTQIA+ art over the years, lessons focused on the influence of war on art and culture, and a look at self-help books during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Students will not be tested or assessed on Cultural Capital and will be encouraged to embrace and enjoy it.

Cultural Capital will give Ron Dearing UTC students give access to art, literature, film, music, politics, science and more.


Various guest speakers and artists are booked for the coming months, including Grand Slam Poetry Champion Harry Baker, and a flood mitigation event is planned for students to attend at the Houses of Parliament with Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy later this year.

Cultural Capital is part of Ron Dearing UTC’s Horizons programme, which also focuses on professionalism, relationships and wellbeing.

Chris said: “Our students are not just leaving school with great qualifications, they’re also leaving with confidence and cultural awareness. Culture is out there for them to access and enjoy and we wholeheartedly support that.

“Everyone enjoyed the launch and the feedback was excellent. We’re grateful to all the performers and artists who joined us throughout the week.”

While Cultural Capital lessons will initially be focused on Year 10, the programme could be rolled out to include Year 11 students in the future.

Year 10 Ron Dearing UTC students will have one dedicated Cultural Capital lesson per week.


Year 10 student Jim Hagar, 14, said: “Cultural Capital will help us broaden our horizons and help us to be more appealing to employers in the future. It’s really interesting and all of the artists and performers were great.”

Fellow Year 10 student Heidi Bishoprick, 14, said: “The week introduced me to a lot of new things which I didn’t realise I’d find interesting. The fire performer was really good and the week broadened my idea of what culture is.”

Spencer Group grows workforce with 14 more apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC

Leading engineering business Spencer Group has continued to grow its workforce by taking on 14 more talented apprentices from Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC).

Spencer Group, which is one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, has employed 42 apprentices from Hull’s employer-led school in just three years.

The relationship between the school and one of Hull’s leading businesses has created a productive pipeline of fresh talent for the engineering industry as well as opening up exciting and rewarding opportunities for dozens of young people.

Former Ron Dearing UTC students now make up a significant proportion of the company’s workforce of more than 300 directly-employed staff.

Sarah Pashley, Principal of Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s fantastic to see another 14 of our students embarking on such brilliant apprenticeships with Spencer Group.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of our Founding and Employer Partners who continue to offer these exciting career opportunities.”

Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman and founder of Spencer Group, with Yvonne Moir, HR Director at Spencer Group, left, and Sarah Pashley, Principal of Ron Dearing UTC, right, and the 14 new Spencer Group apprentices.


The latest entry-level roles include nine Engineering Apprentices, one Mechanical Apprentice, one Electrical Apprentice, two Marketing Apprentices and one Scheduling Apprentice.

Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman and founder of Spencer Group, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to take on so many apprentices from Ron Dearing again this year.

“They’ve had an outstanding experience at Ron Dearing, which has prepared them for the world of work with its employer-led model of education, and now they’ll learn from excellent mentors at Spencer Group during the next stage of their development.”

Spencer Group employed 14 apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC three years ago, followed by a further five two years ago and nine last year, with many more planned for future intakes.

Yvonne Moir, HR Director at Spencer Group, said: “We became involved with the UTC at the beginning because we wanted access to a pipeline of talented young people who would develop their careers with us. Those hopes have come to fruition and our original apprentices are now excelling in permanent roles.

“There’s no doubt that the education and employability skills instilled in students from the moment they join Ron Dearing UTC help them to hit the ground running with us as work-ready employees.”

From left, new Spencer Group apprentices Ellen White, Ryan Harrison, Luke Blackwood and Declan Longley.


Existing apprentices and former Ron Dearing UTC students who have completed their apprenticeships with Spencer Group help mentor the new intake each year.

Harrison Ryan is looking forward to developing his skills and knowledge after joining Spencer Group as an Engineering Apprentice.

He said: “It’s amazing to be here. Spencer Group is a brilliant company to work for and I can’t wait to get going.”

Ellen White, who has joined as a Marketing Apprentice, said: “I’m so excited to start. They look after you at Spencer Group and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Luke Blackwood has also joined as an Engineering Apprentice.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” he said. “Ron Dearing was a brilliant experience. All the teachers push you to be the best you can and they treat you like an adult, which really helps the transition to the world of work.”

Fellow Engineering Apprentice Declan Longley added: “I’m really excited to be starting and to learn more about the business and the industry.”

Entrepreneurial workshop inspires Ron Dearing UTC students to aim for the top in business

Ron Dearing UTC students have completed a pioneering workshop to learn top tips which have helped some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses.

Smarter Britain is a new business created by father and son entrepreneurs, adventurers and speakers Kevin and Matt Gaskell and ultimately aims to support entrepreneurs to build 1,000 new businesses in 1,000 days in Britain.

The two-day workshop, held at Ron Dearing UTC, was attended by Year 11, 12 and 13 students during the summer holidays and provided students with practical advice and tools to help them kick-start a successful business and build their own company.

Kevin was recognised as one of the UK’s top 40 leaders after driving the turnaround at industry giants Porsche, leading five years of growth at BMW and guiding the iconic Lamborghini brand.

He has built and transformed 15 companies since setting up his first internationally successful technology business and has now established Smarter Britain with Matt to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Students taking part in the workshop with Kevin and Matt Gaskell.


The workshop included learning more about the role of an entrepreneur, what a company is, how to build a marketing plan, business and financial planning, how to raise funding, understanding the market, team activities, business plan presentations and input from two leading entrepreneurs.

Graham Francis, owner of Cottingham-based Graham Francis Driving School, and Kate Goodman, owner of Reserve Wines in Manchester, told their success stories and shared how they became entrepreneurs, how they overcame challenges, what they would do differently if they started again and provided their best piece of advice for budding business founders.

Kevin, who has held Chief Executive Officer and Chairman positions for three decades, said: “We invited the Ron Dearing UTC students to build a plan for their own businesses and there were some really interesting ideas.

“They’re not thinking small – they’re thinking about serious businesses. Their ideas ranged from video games and sustainable clothing businesses to hydrogen-powered vehicle technology and solar-powered vehicles. I’m really impressed.

“These students have come along to this workshop during their summer holidays and that level of motivation and interest is immense.”

Smarter Britain follows a similar approach to an organisation Kevin is involved with in South Africa which has helped local entrepreneurs to create more than 3,000 new businesses.

Kevin and Matt also take a positive approach outside of their business interests. They have completed treks to both the North and South Poles and climbed some of the world’s highest mountains to raise money for cancer research. The father and son duo were also part of a five-person crew which set a new record for the fastest ever row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2020, raising funds to fight against plastics polluting the oceans.

Kevin Gaskell speaking to Ron Dearing UTC students.


Matt, who runs a leadership development business alongside Smarter Britain, said: “We can tailor the Smarter Britain workshop to different age groups. This was the first workshop we organised since we recently launched the business and the scale of the students’ ideas was amazing.”

Year 11 student Aoife Curran-Smirk, 15, who took part in the workshop, said: “We came up with the idea of a solar-powered vehicle business and built a plan around that. The workshop was eye-opening and I enjoyed learning how a proper business starts out and works.”

Fellow Year 11 student Mazin Amudi, 15, said: “We wanted to create a hydrogen-powered car company and we learnt how to start a business, promote it and persuade people to invest in it. I’d like to be an entrepreneur and the workshop was a great experience for me.”

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We have a great track record of preparing students for university and apprenticeships and this workshop specifically focuses on developing young entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses.

“This is the start of developing and building on what we offer and we hope to see a number of start-up companies coming out of Ron Dearing UTC in the future.

“We’re looking forward to working with Kevin and Matt as we roll this out across the school as part of our sixth form employability programme and to other UTCs and schools in the future.”

To find out more about Smarter Britain, visit www.smarterbritain.co.uk