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BY Sam Walker | Tuesday 19 December 2023

All of Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form leavers have settled into fantastic apprenticeships, employment, university courses and the Armed Forces as they set their sights on bright futures.

A total of 68 of Ron Dearing UTC’s 149 Year 13 sixth form students secured apprenticeships, including 55 with the Hull school’s Employer Partners – the most ever taken on by the UTC’s sponsors since it opened its doors in 2017.

A further 47 students went to university, including 13 at one of the prestigious Russell Group universities, 29 went into employment, two moved on to further or higher education colleges and two joined the Armed Forces.

The apprenticeships cover a wide range of roles, including marketing, architectural technicians, wind turbine technicians, mechanical engineers and surveyors, welders, software developers and computer programmers.

Global wind power leader Siemens Gamesa, a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has employed seven apprentices from the school over the previous two years and a further nine Wind Turbine Technician apprentices this year, taking the total number of former UTC students employed since 2019 to 16.

This year’s intake are learning how to install offshore wind turbines across the globe in a Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician apprenticeship, undertaken over three and a half years, with initial theory and practical training completed at the Humber Energy Skills Training Academy (HESTA) in west Hull.

The apprentices will then move on to various sites for further hands on experience with the company’s service teams and have the opportunity to work in places as far flung as Taiwan, Japan and the United States in the future.

Lee Drury, Construction Operations Manager at Siemens Gamesa, said: “The apprentices are really keen to learn the electrical and mechanical skills they’ll need in the future.

“Eventually, they’ll be able to carry out all the completion works and operational checks when a wind turbine is installed at sea, ensuring all components work, the required software is in place for the turbine computers and carry out functional checks of electronic and hydraulic systems.

“We have a fantastic relationship with Ron Dearing UTC. Working for us is an excellent opportunity for the students because this is a growing industry and they can gain a qualification as an electrician while working within renewables.”

Wind turbine technician apprentices employed by Siemens Gamesa from Ron Dearing UTC – the recent recruits are currently undergoing training at the Humber Energy Skills Training Academy.

The UK’s leading shower manufacturer Mira Showers, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has been at the forefront of the shower market for more than a century thanks to pioneering developments in technology.

The company, part of the global Kohler group, has appointed Ron Dearing UTC student Spencer Kirby, 18, as an apprentice Electrical Maintenance Engineer and he is the first apprentice the company has taken on from the school.

Spencer’s apprenticeship was due to be completed over three years, but industry-critical skills he gained at Ron Dearing UTC mean it can be completed in two years.

Iain Gillyon, Engineering Manager at Mira Showers’ trays manufacturing facility in Melton, East Yorkshire, said: “Spencer has fitted in really well and we will potentially take on further apprentices from Ron Dearing UTC in the future.

“Most of our executive team came through the apprenticeship route. Employers have shifted their thinking and you can always study for a degree later on. The maturity level of an 18-year-old leaving Ron Dearing UTC is ahead of most 21 year olds leaving university and that’s down to the UTC teaching style and learning environment.

“The UTC team understand our business and the type of skills we’re looking for, so it works well.”

Iain Gillyon, engineering manager at Mira Showers, with former Ron Dearing UTC student Spencer Kirby, who has joined the company as an apprentice electrical maintenance engineer.

IRISNDT is an international blend of asset integrity engineering and non-destructive testing (NDT) companies providing a range of engineering, inspection, testing, heat treatment and software services to the renewable, petro/chemical, oil/gas, utility and transportation industries across the globe.

The business has 2,000 employees in Canada, Australia, the USA and the UK, including offices at Saltend Chemicals Park in Hull and in Immingham on the south bank of the Humber.

IRISNDT has employed former Ron Dearing UTC student Jack Macmillan, 19, as a full time Trainee NDT Technician and he will complete the necessary qualifications at a training school in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, over the next 18 months.

This is the third year IRISNDT has chosen Ron Dearing UTC students to bolster its workforce, having taken on three apprentices and two trainee technicians, including Jack.

Emma Newton, General Manager at IRISNDT, said: “NDT is a really broad career and we’re delighted to partner with Ron Dearing UTC. It’s a fantastic school and the knowledge the students gain there is outstanding with lots of fantastic success stories as a result.

“The students arrive with a really good insight into the world of work, ready to hit the ground running, and they embrace every opportunity which comes their way. Jack has settled in really well.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC student Jack Macmillan has joined IRISNDT as a trainee NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) technician.

Opened in 2017, Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged between 14 and 19, offering a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on creative arts, digital technology, computing and engineering.

It has recently increased student places from 600 to 800 to meet growing demand, redeveloping space in the existing school building and renovating and repurposing the former Central Fire Station next door to the school into STEAM Studios, the school’s new dedicated centre for creativity.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s wonderful to see all of our former sixth form students progressing so well.

“We do everything we can to arm them with the skills they need to succeed and thrive in industry, listening to our Employer Partners about what they need and want in their future workforces.

“Our unique employer-led approach to learning truly works and it’s fantastic to see so many of our students going on to work for our existing Employer Partners, which are some of the region’s leading businesses. We wish them all well for the future.”