Preview showcases pioneering Ron Dearing UTC’s facilities

Leaders of the blue chip businesses backing Hull’s pioneering new employer-led school have been given an exclusive preview of the £10m building, packed with £1.6m of cutting-edge technology.

Employer sponsors of Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) were the first to see the impressive new school and its hi-tech facilities and equipment, just a week before the doors open to the UTC’s first students.

Ron Dearing UTC is the first school of its kind in Hull and East Yorkshire and is equipped with advanced digital technology matching the very best available to major companies.

It has been purpose-designed and built and is equipped with the advice of experts from some of the region’s leading employers who are at the forefront of the digital revolution transforming the world of work.

The school has benefited from sponsorship from its Founding Partner employers and other organisations who have come on board to ensure the school is equipped to produce tech-savvy young people with advanced digital and engineering skills.

New schools receive £400,000 from the Education Funding Agency for IT equipment, with UTCs granted a further £600,000 for technology related directly to its specialisms. In addition to this, Ron Dearing UTC has invested a further £600,000 in cutting-edge hardware and software, as a result of significant financial contributions from its employer sponsors, the University of Hull and Hull City Council.

Principal Sarah Pashley said: “No other school or college in the region can match the technology we are able to offer our students. In fact, this will be one of the most technologically advanced schools in the country.

“As a UTC, we are equipped with industry-standard technology to enable us to deliver our specialisms. However, at Ron Dearing UTC we have been able to enhance significantly the specification of our specialist technology because of the amazing financial support of our employer sponsors and other partners. We believe their level of commitment and support is unique.

“All the technology and learning experiences have been guided by our employer partners to give the students the skills industry needs today and into the future. Our students will use the latest technology to apply their theoretical learning, working on real-life projects set by the employers. Our students will be working alongside our sponsors to solve real problems facing their businesses.

“Ron Dearing UTC students will become familiar with the software used by our employer sponsors, easing their way to employment with those companies. It will mean that when students join those businesses, as we expect many will, they will be working with technology they have used for years.”

Ron Dearing UTC is backed by the University of Hull and its Founding Partner employers:

·         KCOM, the Hull-based communications and IT services provider;

·         RB, the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, currently investing £105m in a new global Centre for Scientific Excellence in Hull.

·         Siemens Games, which has invested in world-class wind turbine manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations in Hull;

·         Smith & Nephew, the global medical technology business with major manufacturing and research and development facilities in Hull;

·         Spencer Group, the Hull-based specialist engineering business.

It is also supported extensively by Hull City Council, which gifted the city centre site to enable the school to be built. The council also provided initial start-up funding.

Ron Dearing UTC is due to open next Monday, September 11, with an initial intake of 230 students aged between 14 and 16. It will grow to a capacity of 600 students, aged from 14 to 19, by September 2020.

The school has an opening staff of 30, which will increase to 50 when the UTC reaches capacity. All of the teaching staff are highly qualified with many also having extensive experience in industry.

Ron Dearing UTC boasts a wealth of the latest equipment and technology, including:

·         High-specification computer workstations with access to the latest industry-standard software;

·         Extensive virtual and augmented reality equipment;

·         Industry-standard engineering workshops with a range of machines and tools including Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and laser cutters;

·         3D printers;

·         Mechatronics, robotics and Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) training kits;

·         Specialist science equipment for physics and chemistry studies;

·         Ultrafast broadband and wi-fi.

Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman of Spencer Group and the UTC’s Chair of Trustees, said: “It’s very exciting to see the quality of the learning environment, facilities and technology our students will benefit from.

“All the Founding Partners and a number of other sponsors have contributed financially. The Founding Partners have also made a very significant investment in time and expertise into the design of the building, the curriculum, qualifications and technology.

“In addition, we will have ongoing involvement in supporting the teaching staff, mentoring students and setting and supporting the projects the young people will work on.

“We’re doing all of this because we see Ron Dearing UTC as a huge opportunity at the perfect time. We want to support the young people joining the school to have successful careers in digital technology and engineering, creating a pipeline of talent for the continuing growth of our businesses and the region as a whole.”

As well as its Founding Partners, Ron Dearing UTC is supported by a powerful list of Major Partners:

  • Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, based in Hull, which is driving forward a multi-million pounds “Digital First” transformation programme.
  • Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI), Hull’s acclaimed tech hub.
  • Fujitsu, the global information and communication technology company.
  • Sewell Group, the construction, investment, facilities management and fuel and convenience stores business.
  • Sonoco Trident, the world’s fastest-growing and most innovative digital brand management business, also headquartered in Hull.

In addition, Hull-based building repair company AJ Building, Emmerson Kitney, the specialist technical and executive recruitment consultancy, property development and investment company Horncastle Group, and Wykeland Group, the Hull-based regeneration company have signed up as Ron Dearing UTC Partners. Further employer partners and the facilities they are supporting will be revealed when the school is opened officially in November.

The state-of-the-art school has been developed by Hull Esteem and built by Sewell Construction, in tandem with the redevelopment of the neighbouring Hull New Theatre.

Richard King, Chair of Hull Esteem, a consortium of Hull City Council, Sewell Investments and Dalmore Capital, said: “Ron Dearing UTC sets the standard for a new generation of schemes Esteem are proud to be delivering through our continuing partnership with Hull City Council following on from the completion of the Building Schools for the Future programme.

“The BSF programme heralded the start of a transformation in educational opportunities for Hull’s young people and the UTC continues the process by providing access to the latest technologies and learning techniques.”

The four-storey school has also been developed using market-leading technology. Mark Boothby, Project Manager from Sewell Construction, explained: “From the outset we’ve been able to give partners an insight into how the building will look, function and operate through a virtual reality model of the school.

“The pioneering technology has enabled us to plan ahead from a construction perspective and has given our partners something to showcase before students and sponsors were able to set foot inside the building.”

Councillor Phil Webster, Hull City council’s Portfolio Holder for Learning, Skills and Safeguarding Children, said: “The Ron Dearing UTC will be a great asset to Hull and the East Riding, enhancing the educational offer to young people looking to continue their learning.

“With cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities, this UTC offers something really special, delivering a first-class programme to students. It is fantastic to see it completed and ready to open its doors.”

Ron Dearing UTC will offer a unique curriculum, which 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 will work on real projects designed and delivered by the employer partners, which require them to apply their theoretical learning to a real-life context. In addition, they will study towards a range of professional qualifications demanded by industry and specifically selected by the employer sponsors. 

This innovative approach will create a new pipeline of much-needed engineering and technical talent, giving Ron Dearing UTC students the edge in the competitive jobs market. 

Ron Dearing UTC has a small number of places available in Year 12 (age 16) to start on Monday. Students or parents who wish to apply or find out more should call 07590 949951 or e-mail

The school is also taking applications for places in Year 10 and Year 12 for September 2018.  To apply, go to and complete an online application form.  Prospective students and parents can also experience the state-of-the-art school and its facilities at an open evening on Thursday, October 5. To register for a place, visit the website.  

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