Students compete for work placements in apprentice recruitment ‘dummy run’

June 22nd, 2018

Students from Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) are competing against their classmates for work experience with some of the region’s top businesses.

The employer-led school has launched a highly-structured work experience programme under which students will strive to be selected for summer placements in a “dummy run” process for the recruitment of apprentices next year.

The work experience opportunities are available to all 16 and 17-year-old students in year 12 at the pioneering school, with dozens of placements made available across several partner businesses – UTC Founding Partners KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa and Spencer Group and Major Partners BP, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.

The opportunities are being promoted within the school and also via an online portal, with students submitting applications directly to the employers.

As part of the programme, Year 12 students took part in a Mock Interviews Day designed to prepare them to present themselves as positively as possible when applying for the opportunity to learn about the world of work with companies who are leaders in the fields.

Oliver Wilkinson is put through his paces during a trial interview conducted by James Chadband and Holly Braimbridge, from Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner Spencer Group.

The day, which was led by the employer partners’ Human Resources Directors, involved students watching films illustrating good and bad interviews, getting tips on writing applications and CVs, and undergoing trial interviews with executives from several of the school’s business partners.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said the programme had been designed with recruitment for apprenticeships very much in mind.

She said: “Our employer sponsors have really taken the lead on this and worked with us to put in place a structured programme with a common process for our students to apply for work experience with all the businesses.

“It’s deliberately a competitive process, because that’s what it’s like trying to get a job in the real world. It’s important our students appreciate they have to submit the very best applications and present themselves exceptionally well at interview to earn the opportunity to gain such valuable experience.

“Some students will be successful in applying for their preferred work placements and others won’t, but we’re supporting them all to give it their best shot.

“Many of our employer partners have told us they will be looking to our students as prime candidates for apprenticeships that will become available next summer, so this is a dummy run for that.

“Having gone through this process, they will be fully prepared to put themselves forward as great candidates for apprenticeships leading to amazing careers with the region’s very best businesses.”

As preparation for their work experience applications, students at Ron Dearing UTC watched films illustrating good and bad job interviews.

Hull-based specialist engineering business Spencer Group is offering work experience in engineering design, IT support and web development roles.

Spencer Group Human Resources Director Yvonne Moir, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, said: “We’re committed to ensuring the students receive as much support as possible from the partner businesses in developing their employability skills.

“That includes the opportunity for meaningful work experience and the structured approach we’re taking to this gives them the best possible opportunity to apply for and be selected for those placements.

“We’ll review the applications we receive, conduct formal interviews with shortlisted students and select the most impressive and suitable candidates for the placements.

“At Spencer Group we believe this programme will offer fantastic opportunities for the students to develop their skills and experience, while also enabling us to get a good look at potential apprentices who we see as our future talent pool.”

Sean Royce, KCOM Executive Vice President, said the rigorous application and interview process would stand the students in good stead when applying for jobs in future.

He said: “Successful applicants will join us during the summer to experience what life is like as one of our IT technicians, as well as out on the road with our engineers and helping customers in our new state-of-the-art Customer Service Operations Centre.

“We hope we’ll soon be receiving real applications from Ron Dearing UTC students to join our apprenticeship schemes and become part of the KCOM family.”

Karen de Lathouder, Plant Manager for BP’s site at Saltend, said the work placements BP was offering would enable students to gain experience in areas such as engineering, manufacturing and technology.

She added: “The working world is competitive and providing young people with the employability skills to help them prepare for this environment is vital to their road to success.

“These students are the future engineers, technicians and leaders, so we want to give them the chance to gain exposure to working in a global business, providing them with opportunities to contribute to exciting, innovative projects, as we help them embark on their journey to be ready for employment. We’re really excited to be involved.”

Ron Dearing UTC is a school that means business and has been established to develop a new pipeline of work-ready young people with advanced technical skills.

The school’s employer-driven education model and curriculum combines 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. 

As well as KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa and Spencer Group, the school’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and Smith & Nephew. The UTC is also supported by many other employer sponsors.

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

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