By Louise Drewery on 05 February 2018
Hull’s employer-led school has celebrated its powerful partnership with leading businesses across the region and their contribution to the successful launch of a new education model in the city.
Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has no less than 22 business partners, representing a total of more than 10,000 employees across the region.
The line-up of partners is led by the school’s Founding Partners – the University of Hull and leading employers KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group.
They are joined by a wide range of other businesses and organisations, all committed to supporting Ron Dearing UTC’s mission to develop a new generation of work-ready young people with advanced digital skills.
Tributes were paid to the contribution of the business partners at the school’s official opening, which was performed by former Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson, who led the successful campaign to win Government support to establish Hull’s first employer-driven school.
The event, attended by representatives of all the employer sponsors, also saw Mr Johnson announced as the school’s Patron.
Principal Sarah Pashley said the employer partners had played a vital role in establishing the school and developing the curriculum, while their financial support had enabled the UTC to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology.
She also paid tribute to the integral role several of the partner companies were playing in mentoring students and working with them on projects that address real-life business challenges.
Mrs Pashley said: “We simply wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing support we have had from our employer sponsors and we can’t thank them enough.
“Their commitment is extraordinary and makes such a difference to the quality and relevance of the education and opportunities we offer to our students.
“The employers recognise the need to develop further their digital capability and to have access to a pool of young tech talent. They appreciate the opportunity to work with and get to know our students, to identify those that are the best match for their businesses.
“They’re also really committed to supporting the regeneration of the Humber region – that’s a major driver for all of them.”
Mrs Pashley praised the school’s teaching staff for adapting so well to the unique curriculum and ethos of the school and the involvement of the employer sponsors.
She added: “We’ve got a very committed and talented staff team and they’re working very closely with our partners to deliver our employer-led education model.
“Developing our curriculum offer to extend beyond the classroom has been really exciting for them and they’re also benefiting hugely from the expertise that our employer partners bring to the school.”
Chair of Governors, Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman of UTC Founding Partner Spencer Group, said: “Everyone involved with Ron Dearing UTC is delighted with the progress that has been made.
“We’ve got a great leadership and teaching team and very talented students who are flourishing and have exciting careers ahead of them. Feedback from students and parents is really positive and we are already significantly over-subscribed for the next intake of students in September.
“The incredible contribution of the employer sponsors has been critical to all that has been achieved and they will continue to be at the heart of ensuring Ron Dearing UTC is a school that really means business.”
Former Education Secretary Mr Johnson, who will represent the school as its primary ambassador, said: “It’s an honour to become Ron Dearing UTC’s Patron and to continue to champion the great work the school is doing to create a sustainable supply of talented and work-ready young people with digital and engineering skills that are in such demand.
“I’ve been hugely impressed by the great things Sarah and her teaching team have achieved, working closely with the employer partners. The commitment of the employer sponsors has been outstanding.
“Ron Dearing UTC illustrates the powerful impact education and industry can have when they come together to develop a pipeline of talent to support the region’s economic growth.”
The commitment of the UTC’s business backers is illustrated by global renewable energy leader Ørsted, which is a Major Partner of the UTC and has funded a superb new library, unveiled to guests at the official opening.
The Ørsted Library is stocked with an extensive range of digital and engineering reference books, magazines and periodicals, as well as hi-specification laptops and digital devices, to support students’ independent study. The library will also host the school’s reading circles and debating clubs and is the hub of the UTC’s oracy programme aimed at developing students’ speaking and presentational skills.
Matthew Wright, Managing Director of Ørsted UK, said: “It’s vitally important to inspire and develop a future generation of engineers and technical specialists and working with Ron Dearing UTC is one of the ways we’re seeking to achieve this.
“We’re proud to be working alongside other key industry players to support this innovative and exciting education project.
“Specifically, we’re delighted to sponsor the Ørsted Library, as a key hub for knowledge and information sharing within the school.”
Ron Dearing UTC’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.
Students apply their academic learning to real-life projects set by the employer sponsors, study for professional qualifications in high demand by industry, and are supported by almost 40 business mentors from the partner companies.
The school opened in September 2017 with an initial intake of 230 students and will grow to a capacity of 600 learners, aged from 14 to 19, by September 2020.
The full list of Ron Dearing UTC partners is:
University of Hull
Smith & Nephew
Green Port Hull