Student receives award for being a leading Ron Dearing UTC advocate

A Year 13 Ron Dearing UTC student has been presented with a special award after being recognised as a “leading advocate” and “excellent ambassador” of the employer-led school.

Kate Hickingbottom, 17, won the Patron’s Award for Young Advocate of the Year and received the accolade from the school’s Patron, former Hull West and Hessle MP and former Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Alan Johnson.

Kate was recognised for the part she played in an interview with Major Partner Fujitsu and for speaking at length to Minister for the School System Baroness Berridge about employer-engaged learning and technical education when she visited the school in May.

Kate was also filmed speaking in support of future female leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) as part of an International Women’s Day project led by Ron Dearing UTC Employer Partner Harper Fox Partners, which was shared on Twitter by Lord Sugar.

Harper Fox Partners was founded by The Apprentice 2019 finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton. Lord Sugar, who hosts the popular BBC television series, has since invested in her business and has 5.2 million followers on the social media platform.

Ron Dearing UTC student Kate Hickingbottom with Patron Alan Johnson.


Mr Johnson, who is currently promoting his new novel ‘The Late Train to Gipsy Hill’, took time out to present Kate with her award in person and congratulate her on her achievements.

He said: “Kate is one of the leading advocates of the Ron Dearing UTC vision. She is an excellent ambassador for the school, not only because of her outstanding academic achievements but also her drive to be involved in every opportunity available at Ron Dearing UTC to develop her employability skills and those of others.

“Kate is very proactive in developing her knowledge and skills and has joined numerous external initiatives such as the Sutton Trust Online Apprenticeship Programme and the York University Isaac Physics Programme.

“Kate is a standout student in her year group and an excellent role model for younger students. She thoroughly deserves this award.”

Kate’s award comes as six of her peers, who have also excelled, were recognised in the Ron Dearing UTC Partner Awards in July.

The awards were supported by Founding Partners KCOM, Reckitt, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Spencer Group, as well as the University of Hull, the school’s leading education partner.

They recognised a range of successes from Outstanding Academic Achievement and Best Communicator to Inspirational Leadership and Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

Kate, who is studying Engineering, Chemistry and Biology at Ron Dearing UTC, hopes to progress to a degree apprenticeship with one of the school’s Employer Partners when she leaves the school next summer and has her sights set on a science-based career.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award and it was a big surprise.

“From the moment I attended an open event at Ron Dearing UTC, I knew I wanted to be a student here. All of the teachers smiled and the vibe and atmosphere around the school is so professional.

“It’s a very mature environment which helps you to grow as a person, not just academically.

“I’ve enjoyed all of the opportunities I’ve been involved in over the past year and it’s great to be given the opportunity to speak about things I’m passionate about.

“This award means a lot to me. I’ve had so much support from day one and I really appreciate it.”