Ron Dearing UTC students equipped with cutting edge robotics skills to increase career opportunities

Student engineers of the future are learning crucial robotics skills to give them the edge for exciting career opportunities and fill an increasing national industry skills gap.

Year 12 and 13 students at Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) in Hull are working with a state-of-the-art FANUC robot training cell as part of their Automation and Control engineering course, understanding how automation, or robotics, is used by some of the region’s largest manufacturing companies.

The robot has been jointly funded by the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated employer-led school and the UK’s leading shower manufacturer Kohler Mira, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Major Partners.

The robot mirrors tasks which computer software maps out on screen and enables students to gain cutting edge, industry level specialist skills that will set them up for bright futures in an under-staffed sector.

From left, Derek Atkinson, Operations Manager at Kohler Mira (Hull), Year 12 engineering students Isaac Barton, 16, and Mercy McFarlane, 16, and Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, with the FANUC robot training cell.


Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “This state-of-the-art robot training cell is allowing students to experience first-hand what their jobs in automation could be like in the future.

“They can use an actual robot with real life programming to achieve that, mirroring innovative industry level control and movement and understanding what that will be like in the workplace.

“This is a prime example of how we’re adapting the curriculum to suit employer needs and help to address the national skills shortage in this area of industry.”

Employer Partners of Ron Dearing UTC contribute financially to the pioneering school, playing a key role in developing the curriculum and set industry-standard projects for students to work on.

They also support students by providing careers information, advice and guidance, as well as offering work experience opportunities and often apprenticeships.

The employers are committed to equipping Ron Dearing UTC students with the skills they want to see in their future employees and to ensuring they are work-ready when they leave school.

Thanks to continued developments in technology, Kohler Mira has been at the forefront of the shower market for more than a century and has committed to taking on apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC in 2022.

Kohler Mira has also donated two additional robots to train students on how to fix and maintain them and also assist with programming skills, which will be brought into use in the near future to bolster learning opportunities.

Derek Atkinson, Operations Manager at Kohler Mira (Hull), based in Melton, East Yorkshire, said: “There is a clear and large skills gap in the local area in all aspects of mechanical, electrical and processing engineering, and we often struggle to fill those positions.

Derek Atkinson, Operations Manager at Kohler Mira (Hull), and Year 12 engineering student Mercy McFarlane, 16.


“If students already have those skills, it can only be beneficial to our business and that is testament to the fantastic partnership we have with Ron Dearing UTC.

“The Vice President of our business started his career as an apprentice and we wholeheartedly believe in offering these opportunities, which is why we’re delighted that Kohler Mira has committed to taking on apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC next year.

“Automation has enabled our business to grow and even bring business which was initially contracted out to China back to the UK. We’re using technology to safeguard and create jobs, and help us to work more efficiently as a business.”

Year 12 engineering student Mercy McFarlane, 16, said the robotics equipment will open exciting opportunities for learning new skills.

She said: “Having these skills will give me a big advantage over other people when applying for jobs because I’ll have extra experience and knowledge.

“I would like a career in automation and programming, so having this in school is perfect. I’m looking forward to learning more and gaining new skills.”

Plans are also in underway to offer use of the machinery to Employer Partners of the school that wish to use it for training their existing employees.

Fellow Year 12 engineering student Isaac Barton, 16, said: “It’s great to learn automation skills now and have a much higher chance of securing a job in the future.

“I’d really like an apprenticeship with Ron Dearing UTC’s Employer Partners. I like practical and hands-on learning and automation comes into that. It will be great to have skills that other people don’t have.”

Ron Dearing UTC recruits blaze a trail at leading laser manufacturer Luxinar

Four former Ron Dearing UTC students have secured prized apprenticeships at laser manufacturer Luxinar.

Jack Christian, Rhiannon Lowther, Jake Morris and Ethan Russell, all 18, are now Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Apprentices at the Hessle-based company, which has been at the forefront of laser technology and manufacture for more than two decades.

Luxinar, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has installed thousands of lasers worldwide for use in a vast range of industries and applications and has opened its doors to apprentices from the employer-led school for the first time this year.

From left, Ethan Russell, Jake Morris, Jack Christian and Rhiannon Lowther have become the first former Ron Dearing UTC students to join laser technology company Luxinar as apprentices.


All four apprentices will experience every area of the business on a rotation basis as part of their two-year Level 3 apprenticeships, including manufacturing, service and after-sales, continuous improvement, quality and cable/loom assembly, and will undergo training with an external training provider every Tuesday.

Jack said: “I’ve always wanted a career in engineering and I’m really pleased to be here. I was one of the first students to join Ron Dearing UTC when it opened in 2017 and it was perfect for me. I’d rather earn while I learn through an apprenticeship than go to university.”

Rhiannon said: “Luxinar is a great place to start my career. I’d like to progress into electrical engineering or manufacturing in the future and this apprenticeship will give me a great grounding.

“Being a student at Ron Dearing UTC gives you lots of opportunities and opens doors, and you learn what is expected of you in the workplace.”

Luxinar is committed to inspiring and encouraging students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related careers, helping to shape its local future talent pipeline.

Jake said: “I’m working in service and after-sales at the moment, which means we assemble, test and fix the lasers returned from customers, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

“I prefer practical-based learning and Ron Dearing UTC helped me to go down the right engineering path. The teachers are great and very supportive, and it’s a really professional environment.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC students, from left, Ethan Russell, Jake Morris, Rhiannon Lowther and Jack Christian, with Chris Newman, Supervisor at their new employer, Luxinar. All four have taken up Mechanical and Electrical Engineering apprenticeships at the laser manufacturer.


Ethan, who is currently learning and working with power supplies as part of his apprenticeship, said: “Being a Luxinar apprentice is helping me learn more about the industry and it’s a really good company to work for. Gaining engineering theory and manufacturing experience at Ron Dearing UTC has stood me in good stead for this role.”

Chris Newman, Supervisor at Luxinar, said the company’s first cohort of Ron Dearing UTC apprentices are settling in well and they will be offered the opportunity to progress to degree level in the future if they wish.

He said: “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!”

Photos by Neil Holmes Photography

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.”

Prospective Year 10 student Joe Benson with Clive Isaacs, Engineering Instructor for Manufacturing at Ron Dearing UTC. Clive is showing Joe how to read an engineering drawing and manufacture a component.


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.

Ron Dearing students take on reporting and artistic roles at Freedom Festival

Year 13 Ron Dearing UTC students became reporters during Hull’s Freedom Festival, giving them behind-the-scenes access to capture the magic and excitement of the popular event.

The festival is the highlight of the city’s annual artistic and cultural programme and this year saw it span 17 days to allow as many people as possible to access the event safely.

Due to Covid-19 guidelines, events were held in theatres, museums, galleries, empty shops and some public spaces in Hull city centre.

This is the second time Ron Dearing UTC students have been involved in the festival through a partnership between the employer-led school and the festival organisers, Freedom Festival Arts Trust.

Students Sanzi Vetis, Francis Johnson and Kelsey Hearne completed interviews, took photographs and recorded their thoughts for their coursework as part of their reporting roles.

Sanzi Vetis takes a picture of Gaia.


Sanzi, 17, viewed Luke Jerram’s Gaia exhibition in Hull Minster and attended a concert set against the huge world backdrop in the historic building.

She said: “I really enjoyed the experience because it was so atmospheric and magical. The music was beautiful and very moving. I took a lot of notes and pictures and I’m going to try and articulate my thoughts and feelings in an article. I loved the opportunity and I’m so glad I took it.”

Kelsey, 17, attended Marco Barotti’s Woodpecker installation in Humber Street and interviewed him about how it worked through electromagnetic radiation and smart technology, as well as how he thought the audience would react.

She said: “It was really interesting to talk to him and a very unique opportunity. I’m grateful Ron Dearing UTC has enabled this to happen for us.”

Francis, 17, attended Mark Copeland’s 21 Remarkable People tour at Hull’s Maritime Museum, which included portraits, photographs and heirlooms, and carried out an interview with the artist about his inspiration for the show.

He said: “It was really interesting and a new experience for me. I wouldn’t normally put myself out there but I enjoyed being a reporter. Freedom Festival puts Hull on the map in a really positive way.”

Artwork created by Year 13 students Evie Hadfield and Amber Van Raamsdonk was also displayed in the event main ticketing and information shop in Whitefriargate during the festival, while additional student artwork was displayed at Ron Dearing UTC.

Francis Johnson and Sanzi Vetis benefitted from the experience of reporting on Hull’s Freedom Festival.


Jayne Gross, Head of Communications at Freedom Festival, said: “We let the students decide what performances or themes of the festival they would like to report on and created an individual programme for each student, which included going behind the scenes and speaking to the artists, as well as reporting on performances.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to allow them to focus on areas they were most interested in and to be creative in their approach.

“I had three sessions with the students before the festival and was really impressed with how their ideas developed each time I spoke to them and the level of creativity on display. It was also a pleasure to bump into them during the festival and see their enthusiasm in action.

“Freedom Festival is very proud to be involved in the young reporters initiative and we look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with Ron Dearing UTC, its students and staff in the future.”

Lynn Garland-Collins, Senior Assistant Principal and Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students’ dedication to the young reporter initiative was brilliant.

“This experience gave them a brilliant insight into how an event of this scale is run and the different roles people have. I’m really proud of the students for always stepping up and embracing the opportunities offered to them.”

Student receives award for being a leading Ron Dearing UTC advocate

A Year 13 Ron Dearing UTC student has been presented with a special award after being recognised as a “leading advocate” and “excellent ambassador” of the employer-led school.

Kate Hickingbottom, 17, won the Patron’s Award for Young Advocate of the Year and received the accolade from the school’s Patron, former Hull West and Hessle MP and former Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Alan Johnson.

Kate was recognised for the part she played in an interview with Major Partner Fujitsu and for speaking at length to Minister for the School System Baroness Berridge about employer-engaged learning and technical education when she visited the school in May.

Kate was also filmed speaking in support of future female leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) as part of an International Women’s Day project led by Ron Dearing UTC Employer Partner Harper Fox Partners, which was shared on Twitter by Lord Sugar.

Harper Fox Partners was founded by The Apprentice 2019 finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton. Lord Sugar, who hosts the popular BBC television series, has since invested in her business and has 5.2 million followers on the social media platform.

Ron Dearing UTC student Kate Hickingbottom with Patron Alan Johnson.


Mr Johnson, who is currently promoting his new novel ‘The Late Train to Gipsy Hill’, took time out to present Kate with her award in person and congratulate her on her achievements.

He said: “Kate is one of the leading advocates of the Ron Dearing UTC vision. She is an excellent ambassador for the school, not only because of her outstanding academic achievements but also her drive to be involved in every opportunity available at Ron Dearing UTC to develop her employability skills and those of others.

“Kate is very proactive in developing her knowledge and skills and has joined numerous external initiatives such as the Sutton Trust Online Apprenticeship Programme and the York University Isaac Physics Programme.

“Kate is a standout student in her year group and an excellent role model for younger students. She thoroughly deserves this award.”

Kate’s award comes as six of her peers, who have also excelled, were recognised in the Ron Dearing UTC Partner Awards in July.

The awards were supported by Founding Partners KCOM, Reckitt, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Spencer Group, as well as the University of Hull, the school’s leading education partner.

They recognised a range of successes from Outstanding Academic Achievement and Best Communicator to Inspirational Leadership and Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

Kate, who is studying Engineering, Chemistry and Biology at Ron Dearing UTC, hopes to progress to a degree apprenticeship with one of the school’s Employer Partners when she leaves the school next summer and has her sights set on a science-based career.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award and it was a big surprise.

“From the moment I attended an open event at Ron Dearing UTC, I knew I wanted to be a student here. All of the teachers smiled and the vibe and atmosphere around the school is so professional.

“It’s a very mature environment which helps you to grow as a person, not just academically.

“I’ve enjoyed all of the opportunities I’ve been involved in over the past year and it’s great to be given the opportunity to speak about things I’m passionate about.

“This award means a lot to me. I’ve had so much support from day one and I really appreciate it.”

Leading smart tech company employs former Ron Dearing UTC student in support analyst role

A former Ron Dearing UTC student who excelled in his studies has secured an exciting position at an award-winning smart tech company.

Lewis Taylor, 18, recently left the employer-led school’s highly successful sixth form after securing a double Distinction in Engineering and a Distinction in Digital Tech.

He is now studying a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Newcastle University but has also secured paid employment as a Support Analyst at Sauce, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Major Partners.

Lewis, the first Ron Dearing UTC student employed by Sauce, worked full-time for the leading Hull-based software company over the summer and will now work flexible hours remotely on a part-time basis alongside his university studies.

Sauce is based at Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub and specialises in working with large, traditional companies as their digital partners, creating solutions to key business challenges to keep them ahead of the technology curve.

Lewis Taylor at his new job with Sauce.


The business’ clients include global wind power leaders Siemens Gamesa, technology innovator Giacom and the world’s largest food and beverage company Nestlé, among others.

Lewis, who provides technical support for Sauce’s clients, said: “I’m so happy to join the team at Sauce and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great company to work for, a brilliant team and a nice office space.

“I learnt so much at Ron Dearing UTC which applies to my job and the workplace, including project management and Digital Tech skills. The Employer Partners know what kind of student the school produces, what we’ve studied and the skills we have.

“Without a doubt, being a Ron Dearing student has helped me to prepare for work and given me valuable skills, such as public speaking and great qualifications, to enable me to secure this job. I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

Ron Dearing UTC’s Employer Partners contribute financially to the school, play a key role in developing the curriculum and set industry-standard projects for students to work on.

They also support students by providing careers information, advice and guidance, as well as offering work experience opportunities and potentially apprenticeships.

The employers help to equip Ron Dearing UTC students with the skills they want to see in their future employees, ensuring they are work-ready when they leave school.

Rachael Taylor, Business Strategist at Sauce, said: “Lewis is an outstanding young person and we’ve been blown away by his maturity and work ethic. He’s already excelled in this short space of time and we know he’ll go far.”

Rachael said there will be other potential opportunities for Ron Dearing UTC students to join the Sauce team in apprenticeship, full-time or part-time positions in the future.

She added: “Due to the pandemic, it’s unlikely this industry will ever go back to full-time office-based working, and will instead operate a hybrid approach to also working remotely. We trialled a new way of work experience with four Ron Daring students over the summer to help them understand remote working.

“We set the students a UX-based project, had daily stand-ups and offered them learning resource sessions before they presented their work to us and we gave them feedback.

“We want to show how they would apply for a position online and how they would interact with that employer to help them prepare for the future.

“The Ron Dearing link is fantastic for us and we’re proud to be a Major Partner.”

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re delighted Lewis has secured this fantastic position at Sauce and we know he has a bright future ahead of him.

“Opportunities like this are brilliant for our students and this is yet another example of why employer-led learning works.

“We wish Lewis all the very best for the future and look forward to seeing him shine in this important growing and evolving sector.”

Fourteen apprentices recruited from Ron Dearing UTC by Spencer Group all secure full-time positions

Fourteen apprentices recruited from Ron Dearing UTC by engineering specialist Spencer Group have all now secured full-time positions with the company.

Spencer Group hired the apprentices – the largest ever intake in the company’s history – two years ago.

Now, having completed their apprenticeships, all fourteen have started permanent, full-time trainee positions with Spencer Group across a range of different departments of the business.

Spencer Group has also just taken on another nine apprentices, in addition to the five that were recruited last year, meaning it has hired a total of twenty-eight under its apprenticeship programme in just two years – all coming from Ron Dearing UTC.

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, with new Spencer Group apprentices and full-time employees.


Spencer Group, which is one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, is committed to taking on a new group of apprentices from the pioneering school each year as part of its succession planning and growth.

Sarah Pashley, Principal of Ofsted Outstanding-rated Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s very rewarding to see that each of our students who joined Spencer Group as an apprentice two years ago has now secured a permanent position.

“It’s also really pleasing to see our latest cohort begin their apprenticeships and embark on what will undoubtedly be an exciting journey for them all.”

Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman and founder of Spencer Group, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have taken on every single one of the apprentices we recruited two years ago in a permanent, full-time position.

Alex Burr has joined Spencer Group as an Engineering Apprentice and “can’t wait to get stuck in”.


“We will be taking on a new group of apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC each year as this is a proven pipeline of future talent for us as our business continues to grow.”

Every apprentice that secures a permanent position with Spencer Group continues their academic development by studying up to degree level with one of the company’s education partners. They are also given the option of studying for a master’s degree.

Yvonne Moir, HR Director at Spencer Group, said: “The appointment of this full cohort of apprentices to permanent positions in the company is proof that this recruitment model works.

“It is crucial for us to have a talent stream that fits the specific needs of our business and Ron Dearing UTC provides exactly that.”

Matthew Hunter has begun his new role as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor with Spencer Group after joining the company as an Engineering Apprentice.


Alex Burr, 18, has joined Spencer Group as an Engineering Apprentice as part of the latest intake from Ron Dearing UTC.

She said: “Spencer Group were my number one choice company to work for when I was at Ron Dearing, so I’m really excited to be here. Now that I’ve started, I just can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Matthew Hunter, 21, has just begun his new role as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor after joining Spencer Group as an Engineering Apprentice two years ago.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been given this opportunity and I just want to keep developing and help Spencer Group as a business as much as I can, because everyone here has been so supportive.”