Ron Dearing UTC tops national apprenticeships table

Yvonne Moir, HR Director at Spencer Group, with Evie Westoby, who left Ron Dearing UTC to begin her engineering apprenticeship with the company.

Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has been named as the country’s top performing school or college for the percentage of students moving on to apprenticeships following sixth form.

The employer-led school, which is rated Outstanding by education regulator Ofsted, is ranked number one out of more than 4,500 schools and colleges in England in the Department for Education’s latest destinations data for Year 13 leavers.

Of the 74 Year 13 sixth form students who took Level 3 A-level or technical qualifications in 2019, more than half (54%) went onto apprenticeships and sustained their destination – the highest percentage of any English school or college.

In addition, almost every student went onto positive destinations, including 32% progressing to further or higher education and 9% securing employed roles which were not apprenticeships.

The data for Ron Dearing UTC covers students who studied level 3 qualifications, including A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and Level 3 technical qualifications in Engineering, iMedia, Art and Design and Computing.

The news comes during National Apprenticeship Week 2022 – the 15th annual celebration of the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “This is fantastic news. We thought we were the most successful school or college within our region in terms of students taking up apprenticeships and we knew we were significantly above the national average, which was 7% in 2019. But we didn’t know, until now, that we were the country’s top performing school for progression to apprenticeships.

“It’s a credit to our unique curriculum, employer-led model of learning and links with leading businesses across the region, many of whom recruit our students into high-quality apprenticeships.

“It’s also notable that six of the top 10 schools and colleges included in the data are UTCs, which demonstrates that the UTC educational approach is delivering the knowledge and skills employers want and industry needs.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our brilliant university and employer partners, who play such a vital role in our students’ impressive successes. It’s another proud achievement for Ron Dearing UTC and everyone associated with us.”

The apprenticeships secured by the 2019 Ron Dearing UTC sixth form students were varied, ranging from engineering and web development, to manufacturing, quality control, accountancy and more.

Since then, in both 2020 and 2021 every one of the Ron Dearing UTC’s Year 13 students went on to apprenticeships, university, employment, further education or the Armed Forces.

The outstanding record of progression into apprenticeships underlines Ron Dearing UTC’s success in delivering on the school’s vision to create work-ready young people with the advanced digital and engineering skills needed by businesses across the region.

Former student Evie Westoby, now 21, left Ron Dearing UTC in 2019 to begin an engineering apprenticeship at Spencer Group, one of the school’s Founding Partners. She has since become one of 14 former students who have secured permanent roles with the Hull-based engineering business.

Evie, who is now a Trainee Engineer, said: “Ron Dearing UTC played a major part in helping me to secure an apprenticeship because of the connections it has with so many businesses. The school helped me to grow in confidence and pushed me to get to where I am now.

“I’m part of the Mechanical and Electrical team at Spencer Group and my role involves both office and site-based roles. At the moment I’m working from drawings to quantify materials and pricing, produce quotes and go to suppliers to source the right products that also offer best value for money.

“I love my job and I want to work my way up within the business, gaining as many qualifications as I can.”

Ethan Russell, 18, left Ron Dearing UTC last year to begin a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Apprenticeship at Hessle-based industrial laser manufacturer Luxinar, a Major Partner of the UTC.

Ethan said: “Being a Luxinar apprentice is helping me learn more about the industry and it’s a really good company to work for. Gaining engineering and manufacturing theory and experience at Ron Dearing UTC has stood me in good stead for this role.”

Yvonne Moir, HR Director at Spencer Group, said apprenticeships and the pipeline of talent from Ron Dearing UTC were vital to the business.

She said: “The standard of students the UTC produces is exceptional. This is evidenced not only by their technical and academic skills, but by their level of maturity, willingness to learn, positive attitudes and work readiness. These attributes make them perfect candidates for the Spencer Group’s talent stream.

“The fact we have recruited 28 of our apprentices from the UTC since 2019, 14 of whom have already become permanent employees, is testament to the UTC’s success. A further 19 students are also about to attend the final stage of this year’s recruitment process for our 2022 intake of apprentices.”

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, Reckitt, 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, Heald, Ideal Boilers, INEOS Acetyls, Kohler Mira, Luxinar, NEC Software Solutions, Ørsted, Sauce, Sewell Group, Sonoco Trident and more.