Ron Dearing UTC students given golden chance of success with new gym partnership

From left, Kate Blowman, Deputy Head of Creative Digital at Ron Dearing UTC, Jack Burton, owner of Fit24, Olympic boxing gold medalist Luke Campbell, and Sarah Pashley, Principal at Ron Dearing. Picture: Neil Holmes Photography.

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has teamed up with a Hull fitness centre for a unique partnership to further improve its students’ wellbeing and life prospects.

Hull’s employer-led school has partnered with the Fit24 gym, run by businessman Jack Burton and Olympic boxing gold medalist Luke Campbell, to educate students about all aspects of health and fitness.

Every Key Stage 4 student at the Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated school now has free access to the gym for a timetabled one hour a week.

They are able to use all the facilities at the gym on Prospect Street, Hull city centre, just a short walk from the school on Kingston Square, and are learning about nutrition and different forms of exercise.

The new partnership is also educating the students about discipline, dedication and routine to improve their employability.

Jack, who launched the Fit24 gym, and Luke, who became a household name when he won bantamweight gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, launched the partnership with a talk to the Year 10 students at the school.

Following the showing of a brief film about how ‘Cool Hand’ Luke overcame adversity in his glittering boxing career, the school’s Deputy Head of Creative Digital, Kate Blowman, held a Q&A session with the two business partners.

Students also asked questions of their own as Jack and Luke gave them advice on how to follow their dreams and be successful in life.

Luke, who was appointed MBE for services to boxing following his Olympics success and went on to have a highly successful professional career, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have teamed up with Ron Dearing UTC as it’s a partnership that makes perfect sense.

“We love what the school stands for and what it’s doing for its students. All the teachers really care about them and go above and beyond to give them the best possible chance of success, and we want to help with that.

“We’re helping educate them about all aspects of physical and mental health. These will be invaluable lessons to them now and in later life as they pursue their ambitions.”

Jack launched the Fit24 business, which includes a centre on Hessle Road, west Hull, and recently brought Luke on board as his partner at the Prospect Street gym. Both gyms are open 24-hours-a-day.

He said: “It was fantastic to launch this exciting new partnership by going into the school and talking to the students.

“We told them that hard work and dedication are the keys to success, along with working alongside fantastic people, and that’s what they have at Ron Dearing.

“Everyone at the school has the same focus to improve the students’ chances of achieving their dreams, whatever they may be, and we’re proud we’ll now be playing our part too.”

Fit24 has become a Major Partner of the school and Principal Sarah Pashley said it was an important development in Ron Dearing UTC’s drive to improve the prospects of each and every one of its students.

She said: “This new partnership with Fit24 will be a huge benefit to our students.

“Along with the obvious physical and mental health benefits of being able to use all the facilities and resources available at the gym, it will also further reinforce the values we instil in them around working hard to become the best they can be.

“These are important life lessons and will also be crucial when it comes to launching exciting careers in their chosen areas.”

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 digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

The school’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Spencer Group.

It is also supported by Hull City Council and many other industry partners, including Arco, C4DI, Fujitsu, Green Port Hull, Ideal Boilers, INEOS Acetyls, Kohler Mira, Luxinar, NEC Software Solutions, Ørsted, Sauce, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.