Ron Dearing UTC students have secured jobs at school to earn money and develop new skills alongside their studies.
Fourteen Year 11, 12 and 13 students now receive bursaries as payment for being IT assistants, site assistants and attendance runners, and complete their jobs on a weekly basis.
The opportunity enables the students to manage their school diaries and timetables while earning £5 per hour in their jobs.
IT assistants check laptops and recycle components where necessary, carry out equipment checks, complete software updates and report any damages. Site assistants support with recycling throughout the school, refill stationery and printers and maintain the outdoor green planted areas.
Attendance runners support the Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 attendance team for three hours per week, helping with admin, delivering letters and checking teachers take registers on time. They also learn the importance of punctuality.
Year 13 student Charlie Pepper, 18, the site assistant responsible for recycling, said taking on a paid role for five hours per week has helped him to grow in confidence. The level of recycling at the UTC has doubled since he started.
Charlie, who is studying Double Engineering and A-level Maths in Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form, said: “I always get up early and arrive at 7.45am, ready to put my gloves on and empty the recycling bins of paper, plastic and cans.
“It’s a great starting point for a part-time job and it’s helping me to add to my CV and personal statement in my university application. I talk to a lot of people, I’ve made new friends and I really enjoy it.”
Fellow Year 13 student Skylar Dawson, 18, has been employed as a site assistant for more than a year and is responsible for everything from planting up the UTC’s bee and butterfly friendly herbaceous borders to refilling stationery for seven hours per week.
Skylar, who is studying Chemistry and Double Engineering in the UTC’s sixth form, also supports Year 11 engineering students who are studying courses she has previously completed, sitting in lessons to answer any peer-to-peer questions.
She said: “I’ve met a lot of students and staff through my work and it helps you to get used to working and earning some money.
“It’s fun and a great thing to do alongside studying because I’m helping to make a difference in the environment I’m also learning in. It’s a really good responsibility to have.
“I enjoy planting and looking after the beds outside school and in Kingston Square opposite our building.”
Students complete an interview process before they are offered the roles, enabling them to experience applying for a job and gain interview techniques.
Year 12 student Edward Tevenan, 16, works six hours per week as a site and IT assistant while studying Maths, Physics and Double Engineering in the UTC’s sixth form.
Edward said: “I always thought going to work would be boring but I’m really enjoying it. I arrive early and get on with it and it’s satisfying to know I’ve done a good job. That’s what motivates me.
“I empty the bins, top up the classroom supplies, refill printer paper and check the laptops are charged and working correctly. It’s good to play a part in keeping the school well maintained.
“These are all transferable skills for maintenance jobs in engineering, as I’m looking at an engineering apprenticeship in the future. It’s also nice to have money in my pocket and feel independent.”
Hugh Boughton, Operations Manager at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students are doing a fantastic job.
“We’ve offered these paid opportunities for a while and the roles have evolved over the years. The students learn really quickly, they’re very communicative, we train them to multi-task and it enables them to learn different skills.
“From a future employer perspective, these are great attributes to have and it shows the students have made great use of their time.”