Three female Ron Dearing UTC students have secured places on a prestigious national mentoring programme to help them pursue careers in the broadcast media technology industry.
Backed by ITV and BT, the Rise Up UTC Mentoring Programme is supporting 23 young women aged 16 to 18 from five university technical colleges across England to secure related degrees, apprenticeships or progress directly into the industry.
Rise is a global, not-for-profit advocacy group for gender diversity within the broadcast media technology sector and aims to ensure a sustainable pipeline of female talent in the media and broadcast industry at all levels.
The Ron Dearing UTC Creative Digital students could secure roles in engineering, product innovation, technical operations, sales, marketing, editorial and commercial areas of the industry in the future.
Each student will be supported by an industry mentor over 12 months and they will have access to industry partners, as well as networking with other participants, completing industry-based challenges and projects, and attending online events.
All three Year 12 Ron Dearing UTC students who applied for the programme – Kelsey Hearne, Keelie Hakim and Jordan Harwood – were interviewed before their places on the programme were confirmed.
Kelsey, 16, who is studying Creative Digital and hopes to pursue a career in the film industry, has been paired with mentor Megan Johnston, Senior Partnerships Manager at Sky.
Kelsey said: “It’s a really good opportunity to make connections in different areas of the industry.
“You’re matched with a mentor in the area you’re interested in, so it’s a connection relevant to you and your ambitions for the future when looking for a job or other opportunity.
“We’ll have phone or Zoom calls with our mentors and they’ll find out what we want to gain from the programme and what we aspire to in the future. I’m looking forward to learning more.”
The mentors have all come from Rise’s annual industry mentoring programme, which has supported more than 70 women from across the sector.
The other UTCs involved in the programme, which runs until November, are UTC Media City in Manchester, UTC Sheffield, UTC Mulberry Schools Trust in East London and UTC Global Academy in West London.
Jordan, 17, who is also studying Art alongside Creative Digital at Ron Dearing UTC, has been paired with mentor Sophia Hazari, Transmission Lead at Discovery Inc TV.
Jordan said: “I want to become an animator in the future and get involved in the creative side of broadcast media. This opportunity will help me to become more confident and focus on elements of my work to help me reach my goal.
“I enjoy being part of a like-minded team and we’re all in the same boat as we all want help to progress in the future.
“Working with Sophia will help me look at my weaknesses and build on my strengths, and I’ll be able to draw on her experience in the industry.”
Lynn Collins, Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “This is a phenomenal opportunity for any young person who aspires to work in the broadcast media technology industry.
“There is huge potential for them to make contacts and develop as creative practitioners, and this isn’t an opportunity which comes along every day.
“Kelsey, Keelie and Jordan have a truly unique chance to embrace this and position themselves in an industry they love as they prepare for their futures.”