Following the Government’s announcement regarding exams for 2021, and having received formal confirmation from the exam boards, I can confirm all January exams have now been cancelled.
The exams boards have stated there may be an opportunity to take the exams at a future date.
If this is not possible due to arrangements still to be announced for this summer, they will work with the Department for Education (DfE) and exam regulator the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) to make sure students are treated fairly in any approach to awarding qualifications this year.
Ofqual and the DfE will work together to find a way to grade students. As soon as we have more information about this, we will share it with you.
It is vital that, while we are in this period of lockdown, students continue to engage fully in the online learning programme to ensure they acquire the knowledge and skills they need and are best prepared for assessments in whatever form they take.
We appreciate how difficult this uncertainty is for students. We will continue to regularly update you with information as we receive it and continue to support students.
Over the next few weeks, we will contact Year 11 students to further discuss destinations and courses for next year. The sixth form team will continue to support Year 13 students with UCAS and apprenticeship applications.
Students at Ron Dearing UTC will be given exciting new opportunities to build on their industry-level skills and ambitions after the employer-led school linked up with an innovative recruitment company.
The school has joined forces with Harper Fox Partners, which pioneers leadership and executive search solutions for the global energy, engineering, technology and manufacturing industries.
Harper Fox Partners was founded by The Apprentice 2019 finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton and Lord Sugar, who hosts the popular BBC television series, has since invested in her business.
The company recognises skills shortages within the energy, technology and engineering sectors across the world and the team wants to encourage young people to pursue a career within these industries. It aims to do this by bringing “diverse talent” into these sectors, particularly females.
Ron Dearing UTC is the first educational partner Harper Fox Partners has teamed up with for its “From Classroom to Boardroom Alliance” initiative, which will inspire students to be the best they can be at the highest level while also offering mentorship and work experience opportunities, motivational talks, interview techniques, networking and more.
Scarlett, Founder and Business Director of Harper Fox Partners, which has offices in London and Birmingham, said business masterclasses, setting students various tasks and sharing some of their individual profiles as potential future leaders could also add value to working with Ron Dearing UTC students.
Work experience opportunities could also involve connecting students with some of Harper Fox Partners’ clients and potentially taking on students within the business in the future.
Scarlett said: “We’re really passionate about attracting more talent within the energy, engineering and technology sectors. We do this at leadership and board level. However, we also understand the importance of doing this at grass-roots level.
“There is, of course, a place for university education, but for these kinds of industries, the quicker you can have that mix of academia and hands-on experience with the employer, the better. Future employers are looking for that.
“Ron Dearing UTC is doing some fantastic work in the sector at the moment and offering their students exciting educational opportunities and different ways of doing things.
“They’re giving students the opportunity to fill that gap from the classroom to a working environment.
“Ron Dearing UTC is inspirational I’m extremely impressed. I’m really looking forward to working with them and visiting the school in the future.”
Ron Dearing UTC in Hull city centre was rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted in its first inspection earlier this year and caters for students aged between 14 and 19. The school has a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.
Lord Sugar said: “The Harper Fox Partners From Classroom To Boardroom Alliance is a great initiative, created to help inspire the next generation of future leaders within the engineering and technology sectors.
“Having built highly-successful businesses within these industries, I am very aware of the skills deficit across the UK.
“Therefore, we are pleased to announce our alliance with Ron Dearing UTC, an outstanding educational institute based in Hull, to help bridge this gap.”
Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said the partnership with Harper Fox was a major positive for the school and students.
He said: “It’s such a privilege to have industry specialists in these sectors who run and work with national and global companies, such as Lord Sugar and Scarlett.
“Our students have access to people who can give them information and guidance about high-level jobs and what skills and management strategies they need, to aspire to what they want to achieve.
“Scarlett also wants to inspire young women to aim high in engineering and give females a voice in leadership roles, which is fantastic.
“We’re not just preparing our students for industry – we’re preparing them to lead industry.”
Ron Dearing UTC students have been given chance to hone their communication skills and practice interview techniques to help them prepare for their future.
Almost 120 Year 13 students took part in Covid-safe mock interview workshops with Ron Dearing UTC Governor Yvonne Moir, Human Resources Director at Spencer Group, which is one of the school’s Founding Partners.
They were given top tips on how to prepare for an interview in person and online, how to respond to questions and present themselves, CV pointers, and how to stand out from the crowd and make a great first impression.
They then completed 10-minute mock online interviews with representatives from some of the school’s founding and employer partners, including KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Sonoco Trident.
The students received feedback on their performance, as well as tips on how they could improve.
It comes as formal applications for apprenticeships with Ron Dearing UTC’s employer partners open next week, giving students chance to apply for the roles they’re most interested in.
Businesses send available positions and job descriptions for students to consider before applying and each student has a mentor within the school to support them through the process.
Previous years have seen face-to-face mock interviews as well as an apprenticeship expo organised for students to meet potential employers and ask questions about the business and career opportunities in person
Virtual mock interviews had to be planned this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The apprenticeship expo will be rescheduled until later in the academic year, restrictions permitting.
Yvonne said: “Your first impression is the second you apply. Just because you may be online, you still have to present yourself properly.
“When you apply for a job, it’s likely the employer will look you up on social media, so it is important students post appropriately and know the content is visible. That can often be a first impression.
“I encourage the students to be themselves because we want to know who we’re employing, be polite because we can teach skills but we can’t teach attitude, be on time and be interested. If they want the role, they have to show they want it.
“These are essential life skills and it isn’t just about now. All of the students responded really well and these skills will help them throughout their careers.”
Dozens of Ron Dearing UTC students secured apprenticeships with some of the region’s leading employers despite the impact of the pandemic this year.
With other school leavers gaining places at university, securing employment or going into the Armed Forces, almost all Year 13 student who left the employer-led school this summer moved onto a positive destination.
Kathy Robson, Senior Assistant Principal for Student Destinations and Joint Head of Sixth Form, said: “The guidance and support our students receive is so important and it is vital we teach them these interview and communication skills, so they understand it is a competitive jobs market.
“Organising workshops and mock interviews gives our students the edge. We want to give them every opportunity and chance to succeed.”
The school’s Founding Partners, Major Partners, Partners and other local businesses can hand-pick their apprentices based on who they believe will fit into their teams perfectly.
Year 13 student Charlie Kearton, 18, is studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Single Computing, and hopes to study Computer Science at university before becoming a software developer and engineer in the future.
Charlie said: “The workshop was really good and very informative about how first impressions don’t just start with walking into a room, but with sending off your CV.
“It’s a great strength of the UTC that we learn these skills. It helps us to be much more prepared for the world of work.”
Ron Dearing UTC students are being encouraged to remain focused and make the most of additional support after the Government confirmed 2021 exams will begin three weeks later than usual.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the latest guidance for English Schools last month after the 2020 summer exams did not go ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He announced 2021 exams for almost all GCSE, AS and A-levels will begin on June 7 and end on July 2. AS and A-level Results Day for sixth form students will be on August 24, followed by GCSE Results Day for Year 11 students on August 27.
Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We’re doing everything we can to ensure our students are well supported and well prepared for exams next year. Student attendance at our comprehensive catch-up programme is very high and they are coping admirably with this very challenging situation.
“Every second of learning time counts at the moment and attending intervention sessions is essential – you can’t complete four terms’ work in three!
“Revision is key to success in exams. We will shortly be starting training for Year 11 and Year 13 students on ‘how to revise effectively’ and providing them with a Revision Resource Pack and Revision Planner. We will also send information home to parents/carers about how they can best support revision at home.
“We know how stressful exams are for our students, especially at the moment with Covid-19. Our main message to them is ‘don’t panic’. They are doing really well.
“If they continue to work hard, they will be absolutely fine and we have every confidence that 2021 will be another positive year for them. If any students are feeling anxious, it’s really important that they tell someone, so that we can help.”
Two former Ron Dearing UTC students are thriving as they begin their careers with the world’s fastest-growing and most innovative digital brand management business.
Sonoco Trident’s headquarters is at Kingswood in Hull, but the company also has teams based in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
Michal Ignatowicz and William Blake, both 19, have joined the team as artworker apprentices and will complete a Level 3 Diploma in Creative Digital Marketing and Design through Hull College over the next 18 months.
With many of Sonoco Trident’s global workforce working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, William and Michal initially started their new roles in the same way. However, they have spent the past two months based in the Hull office to gain first-hand experience as they build on their knowledge and skills.
Their roles primarily involve ensuring content sent by customers is correct, follows legal and sizing rules, is brand consistent, and that artwork is print-ready.
Michal, from east Hull, who achieved a double Distinction* in Creative Digital and a Merit in Computer Science at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I’ve always wanted to do something involving graphic design and it was definitely the right decision to go to Ron Dearing UTC because it has given me the opportunity to work here.
“It’s a huge, global company and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s fun and interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.”
William, from Beverley, who achieved a double Distinction* in Creative Digital and a Distinction in Art and Design at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The employer-led projects we completed at Ron Dearing UTC helped me to get to this point because they encourage you to think in the right way for work.
“I’ve always loved creating and design, and this apprenticeship is helping to boost my knowledge.
“It could also give me chance to travel and get involved in volunteer schemes through the company in the future, so there are lots of opportunities.”
Michal and William are two of five apprentices employed by Sonoco Trident in the company’s latest cohort, which also includes two other apprentice artworkers and one apprentice customer service representative. They spend one day per week at Hull College while also completing additional course units online.
They are following in the footsteps of former Ron Dearing UTC student Cameron Davies, 19, who was the first student from the employer-led school to be taken on by Sonoco Trident as an apprentice last year.
Sonoco Trident is a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and works with eight out of 11 of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, including Gillette and Soltan. In all, more than 2,000 of the world’s leading brands trust the business with their brand integrity.
The company launched its Trident Academy earlier this year, which encourages employees who are beginning their careers with the business to focus on teamwork, personal brand and core values.
Harry Gawthorpe, Operations Manager at Sonoco Trident, is managing and training Michal and William and said they’ve made a fantastic first impression.
He said: “It’s very beneficial to bring new people in. Our industry requires a very specific and bespoke skill set and we want to pass those skills on to the younger generation.
“Michal and William have come in with a great, positive attitude, they’re eager to learn and they take advice really well.
“There is a level of complexity to what we do that is difficult to carry out while working remotely, so we wanted to get them into the office and they’ve made great progress already. They’ve really had to roll their sleeves up and get involved.
“The way they learn at Ron Dearing UTC has helped them to adapt within the business and the way we’re currently working. They’re very flexible, resilient and confident about working with other teams, which is important and great to see.”
Sixth form students at Ron Dearing UTC are embracing the opportunity to gain additional industry-recognised qualifications to give them the edge as they prepare for their future.
Thirty-five Year 13 engineering students are currently completing accredited qualifications in Autodesk technology, which includes 2D and 3D modelling.
Art and creative digital students can apply to complete an Adobe software qualification, while digital tech and computer science students can apply to complete a Microsoft Technology Associate certification, which supports their interests and expands their knowledge.
In addition, students will be offered the chance to study Microsoft Office Specialist qualifications, ensuring they have a greater understanding of the package.
The school’s Founding and Employer Partners have played a key role in funding and suggesting the courses for students to complete during their 40-hour educational working week.
The courses, which are completed and assessed during school hours and include an online exam, are based around the school’s specialisms and support the students in becoming even more work-ready before they take up apprenticeships, employment or move on to university.
This additional layer of professional qualifications enhances the school’s already well-established employer-led curriculum and it is hoped all Ron Dearing UTC students will be able to access all of the courses available in the future.
Lisa Regan, Lead Practitioner for Professional Qualifications at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “This is a massive opportunity for students who want to work in specialist industries and our Employer Partners are very keen to see students coming through with these qualifications.
“It is made very clear to the students that the core curriculum is the main focus. But these qualifications are incredibly valuable bolt-ons for our Employer Partners.
“Our general qualifications equip our students for lots of different avenues, but this gives them a bump up in areas of their interest and means they’re ahead of their peers when applying for apprenticeships or employment.
“The students choose whether they want to complete the qualifications and the response has been really good so far. The Employer Partners have been really engaged in this and are excited to see the influence it has, as this will also help to inform the curriculum going forward.
“It means they’re ready for current industry practices and are in the best possible position.”
Students have up to a year to complete each course and have access to the school’s state-of-the-art technology to complete the work.
The courses are run through Prodigy Learning, a multi-award winning global EdTech business, which provides digital skills certifications and learning solutions for Microsoft and other technologies.
Year 13 student Bradley Lawrence, 17, who is among the students completing the Autodesk qualification, said: “It makes you more employable and looks better on your CV. I’d like to go into the design side of engineering through an apprenticeship and this will help me when I apply. It’s a great opportunity.”
Fellow Year 13 student CJ Ambler, 17, said: “No matter where I go after Ron Dearing, this shows I’ve chosen to do this as an extra qualification and it’s independent learning. It’s easy to manage alongside my other subjects.”
Alex Burr, 17, hopes to study Civil and Structural Engineering with a year in industry at university when she leaves Year 13 next year.
She said: “I jumped at the chance to complete the Autodesk qualification. It will hopefully help me to stand out over someone who hasn’t got it. This is one of many things Ron Dearing UTC offers to help us to progress.”
Apprentices who are not former Ron Dearing UTC students and take up apprenticeships with the school’s Employer Partners could also be given the chance to complete the courses in the future, with the school positioning itself as a training provider.
Kris MacDonald, Senior Director for Wound Advanced Manufacturing Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner Smith+Nephew, who also chairs the school’s Curriculum Committee, said the Autodesk qualification in particular will be useful to students and businesses, including Smith+Nephew.
He said: “At Smith+Nephew Hull, Autodesk is part of an engineer’s job and it’s nice to have. It shows a degree of aptitude, shows they can problem solve at a level that’s affective in many ways.
“Ron Dearing UTC is very mindful of skills that are relevant today and is forward looking. They translate that from their Employer Partners in a way that is meaningful and powerful to the students through their lesson plans.”
Almost 300 prospective students have applied for a place at Ron Dearing UTC in September 2021, underlining support for the pioneering, employer-led school, described by Ofsted earlier this year as a “guiding light in the educational sector”.
120 applications were received before the first Open Event of the academic year on October 8, followed by a further 160 over the next three days.
In addition, four applications have already been received to join Year 10 in September 2022.
Stringent Covid-19 rules were in place for the Open Event and each student was allowed to attend with one parent or guardian at an allocated time to experience the state-of-the-art school first-hand.
As well as finding out about the unique curriculum, visitors talked to staff and watched students participating in specialist activities in Science, Engineering, Art, Computing and virtual reality. In addition to hearing from Principal Sarah Pashley, they met many of the school’s Founding and Employer Partners, including a number of the region’s leading businesses.
Ron Dearing UTC has been significantly oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in September 2017 and this year reached its capacity of 600 students, aged from 14 to 19.
There are 150 places available for Year 10 and a further 150 for Year 12 in September 2020.
The Open Event saw almost 200 prospective students attend with their parents or guardians across the evening.
Dafe Mike-Ugbede, 13, from east Hull, was accompanied by his father, Michael Ugbede, and hopes for a place in Year 10 in September 2021.
Dafe said: “There are so many experiences and opportunities here and it will help to prepare me for the future. I really liked the virtual reality suite and I’m excited by the possibility of learning here.”
His father added: “Dafe has always been a very bright boy and always strived for the best. I believe this is a school for excellence and there is everything here for him to choose what he wants to become.”
Ethan Bird, 13, from east Hull, hopes to join Year 10 in September next year and attended the Open Event with his mother, Lisa.
He said: “I want to come to Ron Dearing UTC because there are more opportunities here and I’m really interested in Creative Digital. The technology they have is great.”
Potential Year 10 student Kitty Every, 14, from North Ferriby, who was joined by her father, said: “I really like the school and I’m interested in the digital element of art and design.
“I like the fact that you can do your core subjects, but also have a choice of others. It’s an amazing school and I hope I get a place here.”
Jack Williams, 15, from Kingswood, Hull, who hopes to join the school’s sixth form in September 2021, said: “I’d really like an engineering apprenticeship. The equipment is really good and I’ve got a great first impression. Everyone is really friendly, they treat you like an adult and it feels like a very professional environment, including being on first name terms with everyone.”
Visitors were able to speak to former Ron Dearing UTC students who have taken up apprenticeships with some of the region’s leading businesses, including those from Founding Partner Spencer Group. The business currently employs 19 former Ron Dearing UTC students, many of whom had work experience at the company before joining.
Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We’re really pleased that we were able to hold our Open Event in our amazing building rather than having to run a virtual event due to Covid-19.
“It was great to meet so many enthusiastic and interested young people and their parents and to create the opportunity for them to talk to our staff and students in person about the opportunities available here.
“I’m very grateful to our employer partners for attending so that visitors could hear from them how and why they are involved with Ron Dearing UTC and see first-hand what a brilliant contribution they make.
“It was also lovely to see so many of our ex-students who are now employed by them and to hear how well their careers are going.
“A great deal of planning and preparation went into ensuring that this was a Covid-safe event and I’m delighted so many people turned up.
“It’s a shame we had to cap the numbers of visitors but anyone who wasn’t able to come to this event can register for tickets for our next event in November. They’ll need to hurry up, though, as it’s filling up fast!”
Students interested in joining Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 or Year 12 from September 2021 can register to attend the next Open Events on November 12 or January 15. To book a place, click here
Dozens of students from Hull’s employer-led school have secured sought-after apprenticeships with some of the region’s leading employers despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With other school leavers gaining places at university, securing employment or going into the Armed Forces, it means almost all Year 13 students who left Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) this summer have moved onto a positive destination.
Twenty-five former sixth form students have now begun apprenticeship programmes at eight different businesses after completing their A-level and technical qualifications, with some chosen for the opportunities over hundreds of other applicants.
Their apprenticeships vary from rail technician to web developer, software engineer, IT support, research and development, laboratory technician and more.
As well as the Year 13 students, a further 11 learners from Year 11 have also secured apprenticeships with local employers.
Digital technology, communications and IT services provider KCOM, which is also a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has taken on three apprentices from the school with the students chosen from 500 applicants for 10 positions.
Two other Founding Partners, RB, the world’s foremost consumer health and hygiene company, and Spencer Group, one of the UK’s leading privately-owned engineering businesses, have taken on two and five apprentices respectively. The Spencer Group apprenticeship recruitment builds on last year’s intake of 14.
Siemens Mobility has taken on two apprentices to be among the first 700 employees at its pioneering rail manufacturing facility in Goole, which is due to open in 2023. Siemens Mobility is the sister company of Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner Siemens Gamesa.
Ron Dearing UTC Major Partner Sonoco Trident, the world’s fastest-growing and most innovative digital brand management business, has taken on two apprentices.
Meanwhile, Major Partner Arco, the UK’s principal safety company, and global energy business BP have each taken on one apprentice, while Pure Renewables, which designs, specifies and installs renewable heating systems, has also hired a Ron Dearing UTC student for an apprenticeship.
Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said she was delighted so many students had secured apprenticeships leading them on the path to exciting, fulfilling and rewarding careers.
She said: “This has been an enormously difficult year. We know how tough it has been for many businesses, employees and students, with job losses and the reduction in training programmes due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
“In these circumstances it’s remarkable that so many of our sixth form leavers have moved on to fantastic apprenticeships with world-class businesses.
“Our students have worked so hard for these opportunities and have overcome the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis. They deserve every success and I’m so proud of them.
“We’re so grateful for the continued support of our employer partners and other local businesses for giving our students these life-changing opportunities to progress towards wonderfully bright futures. It demonstrates their continued confidence in our school and the talent we produce.”
Ron Dearing UTC in Hull city centre caters for students aged between 14 and 19 and has a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering. The school was rated “Outstanding” across the board by Ofsted in its first inspection earlier this year,
Tim Shaw, Managing Director, KCOM Wholesale and Networks, said: “I know how excited the team are to have the apprentices join the business. Many people within KCOM were apprentices themselves and it makes such a difference to the organisation to come through the business on a similar journey to them.”
Gary Thornton, Managing Director at Spencer Group, said: “In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and at a time when employment is very tough to secure, it’s a great privilege to be part of a business that can give these young people this opportunity and put them on the first step to success.
“Preparing people for work is one of the great successes we have seen at Ron Dearing UTC.”
Candice Monge, R&D Associate at RB, said: “Ron Dearing UTC offer their students great experience and business acumen, and their partnership with organisations like ours sets them apart.”
Finbarr Dowling, Director of Localisation for Siemens Mobility Limited, is a former Ron Dearing UTC Governor and played a key role, together with Patron Alan Johnson and Chair of Governors, Charlie Spencer OBE, in establishing the school.
He said: “I couldn’t be prouder that the first intake of apprentices for our Goole rail manufacturing facility includes two students from Ron Dearing UTC. Their appointment as among our first apprentices testifies to the fantastic talent that Ron Dearing UTC develops.”
As well as the apprenticeship successes, 28 Year 13 students have secured university places, six of them with the elite Russell Group of universities.
Sarah Pashley added: “We’re equally delighted that so many of our sixth form leavers have now gone on to their chosen universities.
“This shows how our curriculum offers a unique combination of technical and academic learning and enables our students to progress either directly to the workplace or onto higher education for further study and future career opportunities.”
Ron Dearing UTC is now recruiting for places available in Years 10 and 12 in September 2021, with the first Open Event of the academic year on Thursday, October 8. For further information and to apply to join the school click here.
Apprentices with the world at their feet
They were given the platform to succeed at Ron Dearing UTC, now these are among the apprentices embarking on exciting careers with some of the region’s biggest employers.
Josh Fry, 18, a software engineering apprentice at KCOM: “This is a dream come true for me because KCOM is where I’ve wanted to be since I joined Ron Dearing UTC. It’s perfect and I’m so pleased I can start work straight away.
“Ron Dearing UTC’s connections with KCOM and the courses the school offers linked to coding set me up with the skills and knowledge I needed for this opportunity.”
Josh Peck, 18, a research and development (R&D) apprentice at RB: “After just a week of work experience at RB, I knew I wanted to work for them. Ron Dearing has given me the support, advice and experience I needed to get here.”
Kate Rodley, 18, a rail technician apprentice with Siemens Mobility: “I’m thrilled to start my career here. The apprenticeship offers travel opportunities too, which is really exciting.
“Ron Dearing UTC helped me to get this apprenticeship and reach out to Siemens. They push you to be the best you can be.”
Tom Dubej, 18, an engineering apprentice at Spencer Group: “This is big opportunity for me and I’m embracing it. The support I received at Ron Dearing UTC was great and I’m very proud to be here now. I’ve always wanted to go into engineering and this apprenticeship is a perfect fit for me.”
Two Ron Dearing UTC students are embracing home and on site working after taking apprentice roles at the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company.
Dylan Harrison and Josh Peck, both 18, have joined RB as an Information Technology (IT) apprentice and Research and Development (R&D) apprentice respectively.
As well as gaining practical experience at RB’s Dansom Lane site in Hull, Dylan will complete an Information Systems Business Analyst qualification with a local training provider over 18 months as part of his four-year apprenticeship.
Meanwhile, Josh will complete a four-and-a-half year Applied Bioscience degree through the University of Kent, studying online and spending three days per week on site.
Dylan and Josh have joined a significant proportion of RB’s Hull workforce who are currently working from home, wherever possible, in line with Government advice. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues across the globe, RB’s first priority is always the safety, security and health of its employees.
Numerous measures have been put in place to ensure business continuity and to maintain the supply of RB’s essential product ranges from Hull which include Dettol, Gaviscon and Nurofen.
RB is a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and helps to guide, advise and support students as they prepare for the world of work or university, as well as offering work experience, helping to shape the curriculum and providing apprenticeships.
Dylan and Josh follow in the footsteps of three former Ron Dearing UTC students who were the first to take up apprenticeships with RB last year.
Dylan, who lives in Skirlaugh, east of Hull, said: “I’m over the moon to have this opportunity. I believe experience counts for so much and this apprenticeship is going to give me that massive leg up, so I’m really excited.
“The additional subjects and enrichment opportunities Ron Dearing UTC offers help you to prepare for work. I’ve always had high aspirations and I’m proud of myself for taking this pathway with RB.”
Dylan’s apprentice role includes becoming a “face of IT” within the business and helping colleagues to understand IT, rather than solely office-based work.
His manager, Marc Kirk, Senior IT Manager for Research and Development (R&D) at RB, said while working from home can be a challenge for team members, Dylan has adapted positively.
Marc said: “It’s hard because they’re not being immersed in what physically happens, they’re not building a physical network and they’re not experiencing in person the challenges that happen every day.
“But Dylan has adapted really well and has been into the office one to two days per week so far. It’s so important, at this stage in his career, for him to have some real hands-on experience.
“Dylan’s energy, drive and fresh thinking about how technology is used by people of his age offers something different to us. He comes to us geared up to create value quickly rather than needing a lot of energy and effort, and that work-readiness is down to Ron Dearing UTC.”
Josh, from east Hull, is currently based at RB’s Hull site three days per week, working in the Veet team and learning about functionality, stability testing and various Veet products.
He said: “Being able to learn practical skills in the lab and having that supplemented by university is the ideal combination. After one week of work experience at RB last year, I knew I wanted to work here.
“Ron Dearing UTC offers a unique experience and the support and advice is great. I really enjoyed my time there.”
Josh’s manager, Candice Monge, R&D Associate at RB, said: “Josh has settled into the team really well. I’m really excited to have someone to teach and to see him find his feet and enjoy what he does.
“Ron Dearing UTC offer their students great experience and business acumen, and their partnership with organisations like ours sets them apart.”
RB has a heritage in Hull stretching back 180 years and last year opened a new £105m Science and Innovation Centre in the city – the single largest single investment in the company’s history.
Three Ron Dearing UTC students have been selected to take up apprenticeships with Hull-based KCOM after the company received 500 applications for just 10 positions.
The leading digital technology, communications and IT services provider has taken on Josh Fry, Aaron Pocklington and Brandon Thompson, all 18, as software engineering apprentices, helping them to realise their ambitions of becoming fully qualified Software Engineers.
They will complete a Level 4 qualification through the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, over two years, working and studying at home and in KCOM’s offices.
They will also work with Birmingham-based bespoke tech apprenticeship provider Digital Native one week per month as they go through their apprenticeship journeys.
KCOM is a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and helps to shape the curriculum, offers work experience and apprenticeships, as well as providing advice, guidance and industry level project work for students.
Josh, from Cottingham, said: “KCOM is where I’ve wanted to be since I joined Ron Dearing UTC and this is a dream come true for me.
“Ron Dearing UTC’s connections with KCOM and the courses the school offers linked to coding set me up with the skills and knowledge I needed for this opportunity, and the teachers were great.
“Everyone at KCOM has made me feel so welcome. It’s perfect and I’m so pleased I can start work straight away.”
Aaron, from west Hull, said becoming a student at Ron Dearing UTC set him on the right path to secure an apprentice with KCOM.
He said: “I’ve wanted to do this for five or six years after starting computer programming at school and going into more detail in Ron Dearing UTC Sixth Form.
“The employability days that Ron Dearing UTC arranged taught us interview techniques and helped us to prepare for work. I’m so glad I went to Ron Dearing because I probably wouldn’t have got this apprenticeship without it.
“I’m looking forward to learning more about my new role. This is definitely the right path for me.”
Brandon, from Kingswood, Hull, said he is proud to work for KCOM and is excited for the opportunities ahead.
He said: “I live locally and KCOM is a great local company to work for. I did well in the interview and I got a real buzz when I found out I’d got the job. I’m so pleased to have this opportunity.
“We learnt about the types of software KCOM uses while studying at Ron Dearing UTC. It gave us a really good insight into what we were coming into.
“I’d love to continue my career with KCOM in the future and become a Senior Software Engineer or a Software Developer.”
Tim Shaw, Managing Director, KCOM Wholesale and Networks, said helping and supporting local people and their careers is close to the heart of the business and taking on apprentices will continue.
He said: “They’re settling in really well and it’s great to hear their enthusiasm and see their drive.
“They each have a mentor and a manager, and they’ll go through a structured programme over the next few months, finding out what KCOM is all about and what it’s like to work here, as well as encouraging them to think like a customer while working as an employee.
“I know how excited the team are to have the apprentices join the business. Many people within KCOM were apprentices themselves and it makes such a difference to the organisation to come through the business on a similar journey to them.
“Ron Dearing UTC’s connections with local businesses is fantastic and creates the right connections and conversations for students leaving school. We’re already looking ahead to next year and how we build on the success of the current apprentices.”