Ron Dearing UTC students put workplace safety in the spotlight

August 13th, 2018

Students from Hull’s employer-led school have learned about the critical importance of workplace health and safety from some of the city’s leading businesses.

The full year group of 16 and 17-year-old students participated in a project focused on health and safety, both within the school and at the blue chip businesses that back the UTC. The project was led by Hull-based Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, and a Ron Dearing UTC Major Partner.

It began with almost 100 students researching the Health and Safety at Work Act, the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the UK.

They then visited medical technology company Smith & Nephew’s Hull site and specialist engineering business Spencer Group’s headquarters on Hull Marina and plant compound at Barrow upon Humber to learn how they make safety their top priority.

Back at the school, the students worked in teams, known as agile scrums, against a tight deadline to produce and upload video presentations summarising the Health and Safety at Work Act and how it is implemented by Ron Dearing UTC and its employer sponsors.

The teams were them whittled down to four finalists who gave their presentations to an audience of Arco executives and fellow students.

The winning entry in a competition for Ron Dearing UTC students to design display boards focused on the school’s health and safety rules

Richard Martin, Arco’s Digital Director, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor and Chair of the school’s Health and Safety Committee, and Jo Heselton, the company’s Safety, Health and Environmental Manager, judged the students’ presentations and selected the overall winning team, led by student Joey Raybould.

Mr Martin said: “These kind of projects are precisely the reason why we at Arco, and indeed all the employer partners, are so passionate about the school, because it’s a brilliant opportunity for business and education to mutually benefit and learn from each other. 

“Seeing the students so passionate and knowledgeable about health and safety, and bringing the topic to life in a way that any serious safety-conscious business would be proud of, was hugely satisfying and enjoyable.  We just can’t wait to work with the students on more projects!”

In addition to the presentations, each team had to create a health and safety display board on key elements of the Act and Ron Dearing UTC’s health and safety rules for the school’s state-of-the-art engineering workshops. The finished displays were entered into a competition judged by members of staff from the school’s engineering department.

The winning team was led by Ellie Ward. Their work was judged to have the greatest visual impact and be the most effective in communicating the importance of health and safety. The display boards are now mounted on the school’s engineering floor.

Principal Sarah Pashley said: “This has been a really successful project. We’ve worked with Arco, the UK leaders in safety, and other employer sponsors who are renowned for how robust their policies, practices and culture are in relation to safety. Health and safety at work is their absolute priority

“The project gave our students the opportunity to see health and safety in practice and understand in a work setting why it’s so important and how strictly it’s applied and adhered to.

“Having that understanding gives them an advantage when competing for jobs because they now know exactly what is expected in terms of safety by our employer partners. Even more importantly, it will keep them safe and enable them to keep fellow students and future work colleagues safe.

“In addition, working in agile scrums to complete this project gave the students further opportunities to fine-tune their application of agile project management methodology, which is the project management approach favoured by many of our employer partners.  They also had further opportunities to develop their presentation skills.  

“I was very impressed with the way all students responded to all aspects of this project. Throughout the three days they worked completely independently and demonstrated maturity, creativity, innovation and outstanding team work.”

Ron Dearing UTC is a school that means business with a curriculum combining academic excellence in the core subjects of English, maths and sciences with the opportunity to specialise in digital technology and/or mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering. 

The school’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull, KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group. The UTC is also supported by many other leading local employers.

For more information on Ron Dearing UTC and how to apply to join the school go to

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