Apprenticeship expo opens sixth form students’ eyes to future opportunities

Students at Ron Dearing UTC met representatives from some of the region’s leading businesses at the school’s annual apprenticeship expo as they consider their next steps.

Sixteen founding and employer partners of the UTC set up information stands in the school’s conference centre before speaking to almost 300 students about careers, apprenticeships and opportunities available to them in industry.

Many of the UTC’s alumni, who are already succeeding in their chosen careers, returned to speak to current students, sharing their knowledge and expertise after following similar paths.

Current students were able to ask questions and meet the faces behind the businesses while gaining vital information ahead of apprenticeship and job applications.

Year 13 student Mason Creighton and Steve Abbott, HSE Business Partner at Smith+Nephew


Year 13 student Mason Creighton, 17, said: “The expo was really useful because I found out more about how apprenticeships work and lots of information about the different companies which attended.”

Year 12 students Madison Mason and Ruby Ellis


Year 12 student Ruby Ellis, 16, said: “The expo gave me a good insight into what opportunities are available to us. I really enjoyed it and it was great to meet so many different people.”

Mercy McFarlane, 18, a former RDUTC student now working as an Operations Engineering Apprentice at Founding Partner Smith+Nephew joined her colleagues to speak to current students at the expo.

She said: “Seeing where I started, understanding where the current students are now and helping to guide them on the right path is good feeling.

“I loved being a Ron Dearing student and it helped me to get to where I am today. I love my apprenticeship and I’m working on some really exciting projects.”

Corbin Wright, Business Development Manager at CDS Energy Services


Corbin Wright, Business Development Manager at CDS Energy Services, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, was among those who attended the expo.

He said: “I spoke to quite a few students and they were very enthusiastic. I’m really impressed by the expo.

“There is a massive labour shortage in our industry and it’s important that everyone gets on board to try and bridge that gap.”

Aaron Wade and Steve Davies, Fisher Security


Steve Davies, Technical Director at Fisher Security, also a Major Partner of the UTC, said: “I spoke to students about the technology which is available in the security industry and how it can help our customers. It was great to meet them and a brilliant opportunity for them to learn more about what opportunities are out there.”

Ron Dearing UTC ensures its students are as prepared as possible for the world or work, university and any other path they choose to take upon leaving school.

Students take part in mock interview sessions with employers, learn about their personal brand and are given top tips on CV preparation ahead of applications.

Sam Foster, Lewis Gamble and Isabella Acaster, Cranswick


Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The response from businesses has been outstanding and it’s fantastic to see such a diverse range of employers investing time to grow and nurture local talent. We’re really grateful to all of them.

“It was also brilliant to see so many of our alumni come back to talk about their experiences and help to inspire the next generation.”

Companies represented at the apprenticeship expo were:

  • Siemens Gamesa
  • Smith+Nephew
  • Spencer Group
  • Reckitt
  • CDS Energy Services
  • Cranswick
  • Fisher Security
  • Ideal Heating
  • Litmus
  • LSTC Group
  • Porsche Centre Hull
  • Quickline
  • Ridings Consulting Engineers
  • Wood

Leading businesses bolster their teams with work-ready Ron Dearing UTC students

All of Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form leavers have settled into fantastic apprenticeships, employment, university courses and the Armed Forces as they set their sights on bright futures.

A total of 68 of Ron Dearing UTC’s 149 Year 13 sixth form students secured apprenticeships, including 55 with the Hull school’s Employer Partners – the most ever taken on by the UTC’s sponsors since it opened its doors in 2017.

A further 47 students went to university, including 13 at one of the prestigious Russell Group universities, 29 went into employment, two moved on to further or higher education colleges and two joined the Armed Forces.

The apprenticeships cover a wide range of roles, including marketing, architectural technicians, wind turbine technicians, mechanical engineers and surveyors, welders, software developers and computer programmers.

Wind Turbine Technician apprentices employed by Siemens Gamesa from Ron Dearing UTC – the recent recruits are currently undergoing training at the Humber Energy Skills Training Academy.


Global wind power leader Siemens Gamesa, a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has employed seven apprentices from the school over the previous two years and a further nine Wind Turbine Technician apprentices this year, taking the total number of former UTC students employed since 2019 to 16.

This year’s intake are learning how to install offshore wind turbines across the globe in a Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician apprenticeship, undertaken over three and a half years, with initial theory and practical training completed at the Humber Energy Skills Training Academy (HESTA) in west Hull.

The apprentices will then move on to various sites for further hands on experience with the company’s service teams and have the opportunity to work in places as far flung as Taiwan, Japan and the United States in the future.

Lee Drury, Construction Operations Manager at Siemens Gamesa, said: “The apprentices are really keen to learn the electrical and mechanical skills they’ll need in the future.

“Eventually, they’ll be able to carry out all the completion works and operational checks when a wind turbine is installed at sea, ensuring all components work, the required software is in place for the turbine computers and carry out functional checks of electronic and hydraulic systems.

“We have a fantastic relationship with Ron Dearing UTC. Working for us is an excellent opportunity for the students because this is a growing industry and they can gain a qualification as an electrician while working within renewables.”

Iain Gillyon, Engineering Manager at Mira Showers, with former Ron Dearing UTC student Spencer Kirby, who has joined the company as an apprentice Electrical Maintenance Engineer.


The UK’s leading shower manufacturer Mira Showers, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has been at the forefront of the shower market for more than a century thanks to pioneering developments in technology.

The company, part of the global Kohler group, has appointed Ron Dearing UTC student Spencer Kirby, 18, as an apprentice Electrical Maintenance Engineer and he is the first apprentice the company has taken on from the school.

Spencer’s apprenticeship was due to be completed over three years, but industry-critical skills he gained at Ron Dearing UTC mean it can be completed in two years.

Iain Gillyon, Engineering Manager at Mira Showers’ trays manufacturing facility in Melton, East Yorkshire, said: “Spencer has fitted in really well and we will potentially take on further apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC in the future.

“Most of our executive team came through the apprenticeship route. Employers have shifted their thinking and you can always study for a degree later on. The maturity level of an 18-year-old leaving Ron Dearing UTC is ahead of most 21 year olds leaving university and that’s down to the UTC teaching style and learning environment.

“The UTC team understand our business and the type of skills we’re looking for, so it works well.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC student Jack Macmillan has joined IRISNDT as a Trainee NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) Technician.


IRISNDT is an international blend of asset integrity engineering and non-destructive testing (NDT) companies providing a range of engineering, inspection, testing, heat treatment and software services to the renewable, petro/chemical, oil/gas, utility and transportation industries across the globe.

The business has 2,000 employees in Canada, Australia, the USA and the UK, including offices at Saltend Chemicals Park in Hull and in Immingham on the south bank of the Humber.

IRISNDT has employed former Ron Dearing UTC student Jack Macmillan, 19, as a full time Trainee NDT Technician and he will complete the necessary qualifications at a training school in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, over the next 18 months.

This is the third year IRISNDT has chosen Ron Dearing UTC students to bolster its workforce, having taken on three apprentices and two trainee technicians, including Jack.

Emma Newton, General Manager at IRISNDT, said: “NDT is a really broad career and we’re delighted to partner with Ron Dearing UTC. It’s a fantastic school and the knowledge the students gain there is outstanding with lots of fantastic success stories as a result.

“The students arrive with a really good insight into the world of work, ready to hit the ground running, and they embrace every opportunity which comes their way. Jack has settled in really well.”

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 creative arts, digital technology, computing and engineering.

It has recently increased student places from 600 to 800 to meet growing demand, redeveloping space in the existing school building and renovating and repurposing the former Central Fire Station next door to the school into STEAM Studios, the school’s new dedicated centre for creativity.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s wonderful to see all of our former sixth form students progressing so well.

“We do everything we can to arm them with the skills they need to succeed and thrive in industry, listening to our Employer Partners about what they need and want in their future workforces.

“Our unique employer-led approach to learning truly works and it’s fantastic to see so many of our students going on to work for our existing Employer Partners, which are some of the region’s leading businesses. We wish them all well for the future.”

Ron Dearing UTC Principal calls for curriculum shake-up to bridge critical skills gaps

The Principal of Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) is calling for changes to the curriculum so all schools can offer subjects that help bridge skills gaps to benefit the economy and the drive to net zero.

Sarah Pashley says the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which includes GCSEs in English Language and Literature, Maths, Science, a language and Geography or History, should be scrapped to give schools across the country the freedom to put technology and creativity at the heart of learning, alongside more traditional academic subjects.

UTCs are exempt from the EBacc and can offer their own curriculum, which, at Ron Dearing UTC, includes technical and creative qualifications.

Shadow Schools Minister Catherine McKinnell visited Ron Dearing UTC with Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy to meet students involved in its Eco Club, which is part of an extensive enrichment programme to broaden students’ horizons outside the classroom.

The students are working with Hull City Council to plant an area of Kingston Square, opposite the UTC in the city centre, with butterfly, bee and bat-friendly plants to increase biodiversity and pollination, drawing on their creative and scientific knowledge.

In addition, the shadow minister met students involved in the F1 in Schools Challenge, the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition, which inspires engineers of the future. The Ron Dearing F1 in Schools students are working alongside Major Partner Porsche Centre Hull to look at sustainability within the automotive industry.

From left, Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley, Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy and Shadow Schools Minister Catherine McKinnell outside the employer-led school in Hull. Sarah Pashley has called for the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) to be scrapped to give schools the freedom to focus on technology and creativity.


She also heard from the team at Sewell Construction, another of the UTC’s Major Partners, as they told students about sustainable construction and how they retro-fitted the former Hull Central Fire Station to transform it into the recently-opened, low carbon STEAM Studios creative hub.

Sarah Pashley said: “The current emphasis on the EBacc is not meeting the needs of industry or society because it doesn’t include any arts subjects, with means these subjects are devalued. This is a great shame.

“Arts subjects are essential to developing creative thinking and cultural capital. They encourage self-expression while building confidence and a sense of individual identity.

“The EBacc also doesn’t include any technical or digital qualifications, which makes no sense. The Government has recognised there’s a big skills gap in STEM and they’ve tried to address this with their White Paper, which introduces more tech qualifications for 16 to 18-year-olds.

“However, their aspiration that 90% of Key Stage 4 students study the EBacc is killing the technical curriculum in Years 10 and 11.

“The great thing about being a UTC is we’re exempt from the EBacc curriculum and we’re free to choose qualifications that industry needs and which best meet the needs of our students.

“It’s becoming increasingly urgent that more students study technical and digital qualifications as we strive to achieve net zero targets and renewable industries desperately need people with skills to develop and install technology.

“At Ron Dearing UTC, we’re able to put sustainability, creativity, engineering and sciences at the heart of our curriculum and focus on teaching our students industry-critical skills.

“We were delighted to welcome Catherine to Ron Dearing UTC and our students were very interested to talk to her, while showcasing some fantastic sustainability projects they’ve been working on.”

From left, local MP Emma Hardy, Shadow Schools Minister Catherine McKinnell and Principal Sarah Pashley talk to students at Ron Dearing UTC in Hull.


Sarah Pashley said the school’s outstanding exam results, very high attendance and the exciting university courses and apprenticeships that students have gone onto after leaving the UTC all show that a non-EBacc curriculum works for young people, universities and employers. She said it raises standards of attainment and attendance – a major problem nationally since the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added: “A lot of young people become disengaged in their GCSE years because schools are being forced to drive significant numbers of pupils down the EBacc route. Many young people want to study humanities and languages in Key Stage 4 and should be able to do so. However, many others do not.

“Forcing them to do so demotivates them, impacts their exam results and attendance negatively and fails to address the STEM and creative skills gaps.

“The Government needs to give creative, digital and technical qualifications equality with traditional academic qualifications and ditch its obsession with the EBacc.”

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

The school has recently expanded its capacity from 600 to 800 students following funding from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Post-16 Capacity Fund. Hull’s former Hull Central Fire Station has been transformed into STEAM Studios, the school’s new dedicated centre for creativity.

Catherine McKinnell said: “It was fantastic to meet pupils and leaders at Ron Dearing UTC and to see the broad and rich curriculum that is being delivered. Unfortunately, too many young people leave education without the qualifications and pathways they need.

“Labour’s Curriculum and Assessment Review will focus on delivering high and rising standards in the basics of reading, writing and Maths, alongside enriching subjects like Art, Music, Sport and Drama.

“We need to ensure young people leave school with both knowledge and confidence with skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork to set them up to succeed.”

Emma Hardy MP, second left, briefs Shadow Schools Minister Catherine McKinnell, third left, on a project to plant an area near Ron Dearing UTC with butterfly, bee and bat-friendly plants to increase biodiversity and pollination as part of the school’s Eco Club.


Emma Hardy is behind a project to make Hull the country’s first Butterfly City by planting thousands of Alder Buckthorn trees to attract Brimstone butterflies and bees, as the decline in insects is having a major impact on pollination.

Working in partnership with Hull City Council, Ron Dearing UTC students planted lavender, buddleia, foxgloves, honeysuckles and spurges which will help to brighten the area while increasing biodiversity and enabling them to learn more about pollination and improving the environment.

Emma Hardy said: “I’m really impressed with the facilities Ron Dearing UTC have and their commitment to including the environment and biodiversity as part of their curriculum. This enables students to have pride and take ownership of their community and surroundings, which are important values to instil.

“I’m on a mission to increase biodiversity in Hull and to support people with taking care of their local environment. It’s therefore great to see schools encouraging children to do this from a young age.

“Ron Dearing UTC is a fantastic blueprint for other schools and organisations hoping to incorporate biodiversity and environment in their work and I will continue to support this in any way I can.”

First arts and crafts market brings festive spirit to STEAM Studios

The first Christmas arts and crafts market at STEAM Studios has been hailed a success.

Ron Dearing UTC’s Arts Council and staff welcomed members of the public to the new centre for creativity in Hull’s former Central Fire Station.

Local traders and makers sold everything from illustrations and Christmas decorations to jewellery and scarves, while Hull historian and author Dr Alec Gill MBE and poet and author Audrey Dunne signed and sold copies of their books.

Audrey said: “We had a lovely day and had some wonderful chats with people. We had a crowd around our table and we loved signing our books.

“Everyone enjoyed doing their Christmas shopping, including me, and it’s wonderful to see what has been done to the old fire station. I’m looking forward to more events like this in the future.”

The Christmas arts and crafts market at Ron Dearing UTC’s STEAM Studios.


Elodie Canon, nine, from South Cave, sold terrariums with plants in glass pots as unique Christmas gifts and was accompanied by her mum, Hannah Hoggart.

Elodie said: “I used different stones and alpine plants from my garden to make them. I enjoyed selling them and would like to do it again.”

Ron Dearing UTC Arts Council members Juliet Wilkes-Oliver and Kal Mears sold sweet treats and hot drinks as they welcomed visitors to STEAM Studios while other members made cards and decorations to sell, raising £250. They also raised £300 for the Hospice UK charity by selling bric-a-brac.

Year 12 student Kal, 16, said: “It was lovely to see so many people across the day supporting local craftspeople and some people took the opportunity to have a look around the building.”

Year 11 student Juliet, 15, said: “We’d like to organise more events like this and establish STEAM Studios as an events space too. We hope more students will also be able to sell their crafts in the future.”

Isobelle Cochrane and Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley.


Hull residents Tanyar and Simon Guzdek were among members of the public who attended the event.

Tanyar, who bought a print at the market, said: “We love fairs like this and it’s brilliant. We like to buy bespoke, one-off gifts as Christmas presents and this was the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We’re so proud of the Arts Council students who have put so much into making this event a great success. They’ve also spent several evenings making items to sell.

“It was fantastic to welcome lots of visitors, including local residents, and the day went really well.”

Host of leading employers back Hull’s outstanding UTC to inspire next generation

Nine more leading businesses have become employer partners of Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC), inspiring students and equipping them with industry-critical skills to form their future workforces.

Cranswick, Fisher Security, Fresh Design International, Giacom, MRT and Triton Power have become Major Partners of the school, while Alan Wood and Partners, Influence Media and KLAAFE Limited have become Partners.

This brings the UTC’s total number of employer partners to almost 50, uniting dozens of outstanding businesses from across the region to offer students exciting future career opportunities.

The school’s sponsors help develop and deliver employer-led projects, offer work experience, paid employment and apprenticeship opportunities and lead the UTC’s careers, advice and guidance programme in Founding Partner, Major Partner and Partner roles.

Major Partners also play a key role in helping to develop the Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated school’s unique employer-led curriculum.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, centre, middle row, with representatives from Cranswick, Fisher Security, Fresh Design International, Giacom, MRT, Triton Power, Alan Wood and Partners, Influence Media and KLAAFE.


Cranswick is one of the UK’s leading food business, with revenues over £2.3bn. The company produces a wide range of fresh food, from pork and chicken to charcuterie meats, olives and houmous in 22 production facilities. Cranswick has a growing farming operation and has recently acquired a pet food business.

Sam Foster, Group Talent Acquisition Officer at Cranswick, said: “As one of Hull’s largest employers, we’re passionate about engaging with young talent and showcasing the variety of career opportunities available within our industry-leading sustainable food business.

“We’ve taken on three Ron Dearing UTC students in engineering, tech and new product development apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship roles, which has been a great success, and we’re looking forward to contributing to the school’s curriculum as a Major Partner.”

Giacom is one of the UK’s foremost distributors of comms, cloud, hardware and billing services, supporting a nationwide partner network of over 5,000 local, expert technology providers.

Announced as the Comms National Awards’ Best Wholesale Service Provider in September 2023, Giacom provides a portfolio of IT products and services to its partners, who in turn support thousands of small and medium-sized businesses across the UK.

Ron Dearing UTC has welcomed nine more businesses as employer partners.


Richard Wieczorek, Senior Technology Talent Acquisition Partner at Giacom, said: “Ron Dearing UTC is an amazing place which provides a really good mix of academic and hands-on learning.

“The energy and buzz from the students is really impressive and we’re devising an apprenticeship programme to employ some students in traditional IT or software engineering roles in the future.

“A significant portion of Giacom’s cloud services division has long been based in the Hull area, and partnering with Ron Dearing UTC takes our investment in the local area and the future of our business to the next level.”

Beverley-based MRT designs, develops and manufactures a wide range of revolutionary electronic distress signals, man overboard safety solutions and safety equipment for offshore industries. Its mission is to protect and save lives in the renewables, oil, gas and offshore sectors.

MRT is the Hull-based electronics division of Wescom Group, a world-renowned manufacturer of specialist pyrotechnic products for the global marine industries, producing more than 2.5 million units annually.

Students learning in Ron Dearing UTC’s new STEAM Studios expansion.


Ryan Pettit, Managing Director of MRT, said: “We want to create a pipeline of future talent within our business who can learn from our experienced team and arm the students with the skills we want to see in our future workforce.

“We’re growing our business and we’re excited for work-ready young people to join us and build their careers here. We’ve recently taken on three production engineering apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC and they’re settling in very well.

“The UTC is an incredible place with an outstanding working and learning environment and we’re very proud to become a Major Partner.”

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

The school has recently expanded its capacity from 600 to 800 students following funding from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Post-16 Capacity Fund. Hull’s former Hull Central Fire Station has been transformed into STEAM Studios, the school’s new dedicated centre for creativity.

Hull’s employer-led school is rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted.


Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re delighted to welcome nine fantastic new businesses as employer partners of Ron Dearing UTC, adding to the dozens of other leading companies who continue to support our school and students.

“We’re expanding our employer engagement programme, so we cross an even more diverse breadth of sectors within engineering, creative, computing, science and healthcare industries, opening up further opportunities for our students.

“Our employer partners provide world-class careers advice, guidance and destinations, and we’re thrilled to be associated with them all.”

Creative UTC students add further strings to their bows

Three Ron Dearing UTC students are broadening their horizons outside the classrooms and fine-tuning their creative talents.

Year 11 students Amelia Prajsner, 16, and Jacob Kemp, 15, and Year 12 student Matthew Bestley, 16, play musical instruments, speak foreign languages or inspire others in the great outdoors, and they all hope to pursue creative career paths.

Amelia, a graphic designer on the school’s Arts Council, speaks Japanese and Polish, plays the clarinet and tenor saxophone, and is a member of two orchestras, playing at various concerts and events.

Students Amelia Prajsner, 16, Jacob Kemp, 15, and Matthew Bestley, 16, showing off their talents.


She said: “I’ve played the clarinet since I was eight and the tenor saxophone for just a month. My parents are Polish and we speak Polish at home but I was born in England, so I’ve always been bi-lingual.

“I learnt to speak Japanese through a family friend who now runs the Japanese enrichment programme at Ron Dearing UTC.

“I’m a very creative person and enjoy learning new things. Ron Dearing UTC encourages creativity, which is really exciting.”

Year 12 student Matthew Bestley has been playing the piano for nine years and is also a kayak instructor.


Jacob, also a graphic designer on the school’s Arts Council, learnt to play the flute at the age of eight and plays in a junior orchestra in Hull. He took up the guitar aged 12, has achieved a green belt in karate and also plays football.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in music and my parents bought me a guitar for Christmas one year, so I taught myself how to play. I’m hoping to form a band with my peers.

“You’re given so much creative freedom at Ron Dearing UTC and it’s an inspirational and very supportive environment. I love being active and creative.”

Matthew, who studies 3D Design, Graphics, Fine Art and Digital Media at Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form, is a grade four pianist and has been playing for nine years, following in his older sisters’ footsteps, and also sings at grade seven level.

Year 11 student Amelia Prajsner playing her clarinet.

He is a kayak instructor at East Yorkshire Canoe Club in North Cave, leading kayak lessons for novices and beginners, and hopes to become a coach when he turns 18.

Matthew said: “I’ve always loved water and was introduced to kayaking by a family friend. I feel very lucky to have all these hobbies because they’re really good skills to have.

“I come from a musical family and I love the dedicated creative space Ron Dearing offers. My hobbies complement my creative studies.”

Ron Dearing UTC has recently opened STEAM Studios, its dedicated centre for creativity, in the former Hull Central Fire Station following funding from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Post-16 Capacity Fund.

Year 11 student Jacob Kemp playing his flute. He also plays guitar and enjoys karate and football.


Alongside remodelling the existing school building, this has enabled the UTC to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students and build on its growing creative curriculum.

The UTC offers an extensive enrichment programme to students, encouraging them to broaden their horizons and embrace culture and creativity alongside their studies, and also introduced the Arts Council last year.

Lynn Garland-Collins, Director of Creativity at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I’m always blown away by the talents and creativity of our students and we’re very proud of Amelia, Jacob and Matthew.

“As teachers, we also learn so much from the students and their creativity is inspiring. Our lessons are very often become student-led because they will bring something to the table which inspires additional creative conversations. They are a joy to work with.”

Computing students tested to the limit during outward bound challenge

Sixth form computing students at Ron Dearing UTC were pushed out of their comfort zones during a challenging outward bound exercise designed to test their skills to the limit.

Nine Year 13 students embraced the five-day challenge in Ullswater in the Lake District, which aimed to build their confidence, communication, teamwork abilities, leadership skills and resilience.

The trip, which went ahead during half term, will help the students to draw on these skills as they approach their coursework and exam period in school and prepare for their futures.

It is the second time Ron Dearing UTC staff have organised the visit through the Outward Bound Trust, which inspires young people to exceed their potential. The charity partners with schools, colleges, employers and youth groups to teach young people to believe in themselves.

Jason White, Head of Computing at Ron Dearing UTC, and Digital Teacher Robbie Olsen accompanied the students on the trip, which is now part of the annual school calendar.

The Ron Dearing UTC students on the outward bound challenge.


The challenge included team games, a jog and dip into a lake, cliff jumping, mountain climbing and gorge walking up waterfalls in pairs while guiding their blindfolded peers to the top.

They also completed an overnight expedition, which unexpectedly fell during the recent Storm Ciarán, and the students had to brave intense wind and rain to reach their camp and set up tents for the night.

Robbie said: “We’re so proud of all the students who completed this amazing challenge. They showed such resilience and faced each situation head-on.

“It was a fantastic team effort and they all helped each other through it with grit, determination and perseverance.

“On the final night, we sat around a campfire and reflected on what everyone had achieved and learnt, followed by the students presenting their thoughts to the group.

“They will be able to draw on these skills and use them in school for their upcoming studies, coursework and exams, as well as in future employment or at university.

The Ron Dearing UTC students camped in Ullswater in the Lake District.


“If they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, they know they already have the skills and tools to achieve their goals and deadlines.”

Year 13 computing student Zakk Amers-Delph, who completed the challenge, said: “I found the whole experience very enjoyable but the expedition pushed me most.

“We were in the middle of a storm and it was a really hard challenge, which meant most people were out of their comfort zones. I helped others up the mountain and hopefully provided some encouragement and support, helping to set up tents.

“I learnt a lot about my classmates and about myself and what I’m able to achieve. I also gained more time management and communication skills, which will be great for projects, apprenticeships or university in the future.”

Fellow Year 13 computing student Liv Brown said: “I definitely built up my resilience and communication skills and learnt more about leadership and public speaking during the challenge.

“The expedition was very challenging, especially in harsh weather, and I carried my body weight on my back. I have a real sense of achievement from it and have gained skills for life.”

Art students help to create Hull mural to be seen by millions

Ron Dearing UTC art students have helped to create a large scale mural which will be seen by millions of people each year.

The mural in Hull’s Paragon Interchange has been created by city-based artist Andy Pea after TransPennine Express (TPE) commissioned him to mark the 175th anniversary of the station.

The mural reflects Hull’s rich history, including local landmarks, events, the fishing industry and key figures, celebrating the city’s culture and heritage.

Andy spent time speaking to local residents and commuters about what they’d like to see included in the mural and Ron Dearing UTC art students submitted their own designs, some of which have been incorporated into the final piece.

A group of students also worked alongside Andy to paint some of the mural, learning valuable skills and techniques from the experienced artist as they showcased their own work.

The mural at Paragon Interchange.


Year 12 student Ethan Beaumont, 16, who is studying Fine Art and Engineering Manufacture at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “Being involved in painting the mural was a really enjoyable experience.

“We were able to work quite freely and creatively, and it’s great to work on something which will be seen by so many people.”

Fellow Year 12 student Jessie Duncan, 16, who is studying Fine Art, 3D Design and A-level English Literature and English Language, said: “We helped to paint the base of the mural from blue through to darker colours.

“It’s very meaningful and good to be part of something which brightens up the station. I really enjoyed it and I felt honoured to work with Andy. I learnt a lot from him.”

The mural is expected to be completed imminently and will provide a thought-provoking warm welcome for millions of commuters each year.

Ron Dearing UTC students working on the mural.


Andy, who has been an artist for 25 years and has also produced work in the UK, Europe and Mexico, said: “The mural works like a compass. The east wall looks over the Humber and the North Sea and is focused on maritime, fishing and whaling.

“The south wall is all about wildlife and wind turbines and the west is focused on people leaving the station, including remembering soldiers who left and those leaving to go on holiday.

“The north wall includes the last bombsite in Hull on Beverley Road, bands in the city and key figures, and the well-known Rank Hovis mill on Wincolmlee.

“A lot of work has gone into it and I always feel privileged to have Ron Dearing UTC students involved in anything I do because they are fantastic students and fully engage in whatever we’re working on.

“It’s great for them to be able to say they have worked on this and it’s going to be seen by about 10 million people every year. Some artists in galleries don’t have that many people viewing their work.”

Andy Pea with Ron Dearing UTC students.


Andy has previously worked with Ron Dearing students on various projects to inspire them as they follow their creative paths.

Lynn Garland-Collins, Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s fantastic for the students to work with a practising artist on such a large scale community project.

“They have never worked on anything as big as this before and they’ve learnt so many new techniques, including the Squiggle Grid method to help upscale designs.

“The feedback from the students has been wonderful and they’ve all really enjoyed being part of it.”

Ofsted Chief Inspector praises ‘outstanding’ Ron Dearing UTC for inspiring students and meeting employer needs

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector has praised Ron Dearing UTC’s employer-led model of learning after visiting the pioneering Hull school.

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman and a team of inspectors were given a tour of Ron Dearing UTC, including its recently opened STEAM Studios centre for creativity, to see how it is preparing students for rewarding careers across a range of sectors.

Ms Spielman had been encouraged by Senior Ofsted Inspector Lee Elliot to personally visit Ron Dearing UTC and find out for herself how its unique employer-led curriculum is meeting employer needs.

Mr Elliot led the team of inspectors at the school’s last Ofsted inspection in 2020, when it was rated ‘Outstanding’ across the board.

Ms Spielman, Mr Elliot and fellow Senior Ofsted Inspectors Alison Aitchison, Zoe Lightfoot and Rachel Angus met with Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley and other members of the senior team, along with representatives from the Governing Board, including Chair Richard Martin.

His Majesty’s Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, right, and Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley talking to Photography, 3D Design and Creative Digital student Taylor Beaden.


They heard from school alumni who have gone on to exciting apprenticeships with leading companies including engineering specialists Spencer Group, a Founding Partner of the UTC, and safety experts Arco, a Major Partner.

The team were told how Ron Dearing UTC’s employer partners help shape its curriculum to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in industry, as well as higher education study.

They were then given a tour of the facilities, where they spoke to students engaging in practical lessons in subjects including Fine Art and Graphics, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD) and Mechatronics.

Ms Spielman said: “Ron Dearing UTC is an outstanding school that is helping to meet local and national employment needs while offering real choice for students who want to specialise in digital, creative and engineering technology.

“The school’s employer-led curriculum and cutting-edge facilities, including the new STEAM Studios, are very impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what the students are working on.”

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, on a tour of Ron Dearing UTC in Hull.


Ron Dearing UTC, in Kingston Square, city centre, opened STEAM Studios in the former Hull Fire Station next door last month to support and inspire its growing number of students.

The site has been renovated and repurposed to create an innovative hub including a gallery and exhibition space, digital and photography studios, 2D and 3D studios, as well as an additional sixth form independent study centre.

It is part of wider expansion work at the school, which included remodelling parts of the existing UTC building to create research and development science laboratories and independent study spaces.

The expansion has enabled the UTC to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students following funding from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Post-16 Capacity Fund, in response to huge demand for student places.

The school, which has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017, has already filled all its additional places and reached its new capacity – a year ahead of schedule.

His Majesty’s Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman with Engineering students at Ron Dearing UTC.


World leading renewable energy company Ørsted, which develops, constructs and operates offshore wind farms across Europe, is a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and has made a substantial financial contribution towards the school’s expansion.

Ms Pashley said: “We were delighted to welcome Amanda and the team of inspectors to Ron Dearing UTC to showcase the work we’re doing to inspire and prepare our students for exciting careers, whilst addressing the skills gap and meeting local and national employer needs.

“We were also very proud to give them a tour of our newly expanded facilities, and to let them hear from the students themselves about what they’re studying and how we’re supporting them to achieve their goals.”

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 Hull City Council alongside many other Major Partners and Partners.

Record number of prospective students attend Ron Dearing UTC open event

An open event organised for prospective Ron Dearing UTC students attracted a record number of attendees.

Students who would like to join the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2024 attended the event with their parents or carers.

They met the UTC team, Employer Partners and toured the state-of-the-art facilities, including STEAM Studios, the school’s new dedicated centre for creativity which officially opened its doors last month.

A total of 420 students turned out for the open event as they hope to pursue their education in the school’s exciting employer-led working environment.

They found out more about the curriculum, the school’s 40-hour working week, what is expected of students regarding behaviour and conduct, building their personal brand and what the UTC offers outside the classroom.

Prospective students were able to experience practical sessions at Ron Dearing UTC.


They also heard about the incredible exam results achieved, as the UTC significantly outperforms the national averages for GCSE, A-level and technical qualification outcomes. Former Ron Dearing UTC students also attended the open event to inspire prospective students.

Lloyd Shaw, 13, who would like to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 next year, attended with his mum, Sarah Dennett, and sister Bethany Dennett.

Lloyd said: “I’d like to study Engineering or Computing and I like the idea of a 40-hour working week. It was great to have a look around and find out more about the exciting the opportunities available.”

Prospective Year 10 student Billy Wray, 14, who was joined by his parents Mike and Kerry at the open event, said: “I’m interested in becoming an architect in the future, so I’m looking at the Art and Design and Creative iMedia courses. I like the Enrichment programme Ron Dearing offers and the amazing equipment you can use. I really hope I get a place here.”

Kerry said: “Ron Dearing UTC gives students great experiences and they work on real life employer-led projects, so they can relate to them.”

Grace Howe, 13, who attended with her mum Stacey and hopes to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 in 2024, said: “I love Art and English, and I’m considering becoming a police officer or pursuing a career in medicine. It would be a great opportunity for me to study at Ron Dearing and the facilities are amazing.”

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley speaking to prospective students and their parents and carers.


Ron Dearing UTC has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017. The recent expansion of the school has enabled it to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students.

Open event attendees heard about the outstanding destinations 100 per cent of students have moved on to since leaving Ron Dearing UTC, including university and apprenticeships.

Lillie Mitcheson, 15, hopes to join the UTC in Year 12 next year and attended the event with her parents, Lizzy Beach and Phil Mitcheson.

Lillie said: “I’m here to find out more about sciences and 3D design because I’m interested in becoming a vet or going into textiles. I’m keeping my options open and I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen.”

Lizzy said: “I like that Ron Dearing UTC helps its students to become work-ready because it’s so important now. It feels more like a workplace than a college, which is impressive.”

Several Ron Dearing UTC Employer Partners attended the open event to share how they support students and the curriculum.

Wendy Hiley, HR and Talent Acquisition Business Partner at rural broadband specialist Quickline Communications, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, said: “Everyone is really impressed with the UTC and what it can offer. We love working with Ron Dearing and we’ve already met some really talented and inspirational young people. We can’t wait to have some of these students join our future workforce.”

A total of 420 prospective students turned out for the latest Ron Dearing UTC open event.


Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “More students, parents and carers applied for this open event than ever before and it was fantastic to receive such a high level of interest.

“We’re incredibly proud of our students, staff and our world class facilities, which showcase what we’re about as a UTC and show how doing things differently works.

“New students make a very brave decision to come to us from their existing schools but we promise to deliver for them. We want every student to have the best experience and results possible.”

There are only 200 places available for Year 10 students in September 2024 and 225 places in Year 12. More than 5,000 students per year group are eligible to apply.

Applications have already exceeded the available number of places. The selection process is carried out at random and students will be notified if they have been successful by March 2024. Visit to apply for a place in either year group.

Two further open events have been organised at Ron Dearing UTC and will run from 5pm to 8pm on November 9 and January 11. To book a place visit