Hull’s new employer-led university technical college (UTC) today launched its student recruitment drive with the son of the Siemens Hull Blade Factory Director being the first to sign up to attend.
Fifteen-year-old Lewis Speedy will be one of the first intake into the purpose-built Ron Dearing UTC when it opens in September next year.
His parents Jason and Wendy said it was a family decision to choose the UTC for Lewis to continue his education after completing his GCSEs next summer, saying the pioneering college’s business-driven ethos and focus on engineering and digital skills made it the perfect fit for him.
Lewis and his parents formally made their application for a place at the UTC at Hull’s new amphitheatre, Stage @TheDock, next to Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub, where the UTC team are based in the lead-up to the opening of the college’s £10m new building.
The family has relocated to the Hull area from Staffordshire following Mr Speedy’s move from his role as Head of Operations at the Siemens Inverters plant in Congleton, Cheshire, to become Blade Factory director in Hull.
Siemens is one of the industry-leading companies who are the UTC’s employer sponsors and Mr Speedy has been closely involved in working with Principal Designate Sarah Pashley and her interim team to develop the UTC’s innovative curriculum. He has also contributed to plans for the UTC’s state-of-the-art equipment.
Mr Speedy said: “The UTC fits perfectly with Lewis’ interests and strengths. He has a natural ability for the sciences, maths and technologies and those subjects have always been his best grades at school.
“When I came to Hull I got involved in the curriculum group working with Sarah and the UTC team. The more I found out about the curriculum and the specialisms of mechatronics and digital technology the more I thought it would be the right choice for him. We discussed it with Lewis and he said he was interested.
“The big thing from a parent’s perspective is that the UTC is all about hands-on experience and projects set by businesses. It’s not just learning, it’s the practical application of that learning and that will be a major benefit for Lewis and the other students.
“As an employer sponsor of the UTC, Siemens wants to play our part in developing amazing engineers and digital professionals for businesses in the city and region and if my son becomes one of them then that’s a win, win.”
Lewis’ mum, Wendy, said: “I’ve been really impressed with the UTC prospectus – it read like the curriculum had been designed for Lewis and that’s what made me think it would be ideal for him.
“It seems so much more structured than other schools and colleges and the subjects the UTC will focus on are just what Lewis is interested in and good at.
“I also really like the fact that businesses are so involved. Going to the UTC will give young people like Lewis a real insight into some of the leading businesses in the area. That helps prepare them for when they enter the world of work and has to give them a big advantage over kids from traditional schools and colleges.”
Lewis is due to complete his studies for 10 GCSEs before joining the UTC when it opens its doors a year from now. At the UTC he will study vocational qualifications with a view to moving on to an apprenticeship at 18.
Lewis said: “It will be exciting to go to the UTC – it sounds totally different to the school I was at before coming to Hull. What I’ll do there is what I like doing, so I won’t get bored.
“I like the idea of becoming an electrical engineer. A careers advisor came to my former school and we looked at the different types of careers in engineering and I liked the sound of the electrical side.”
From today, students or their parents/carers can formally apply to join the UTC at year 10 or 12 (aged 14 or 16) from next September, by applying online at www.rondearingutc.com/apply.
From Monday, September 5, people can call the UTC on 01482 222299 and request an application form to be sent to them.
Vice principal designate Mark Ollerenshaw said: “We’re delighted we are now able to accept applications from parents and carers who would like their children to be among the first students to benefit from the unique new educational model we will be offering.
“We believe the UTC will be a very popular option and Lewis and his parents will be just the first of many committing to the UTC over the coming weeks and months.”
The opening of applications comes before the first of a series of student recruitment events, which be held at the University of Hull on Saturday, October 1. Prospective UTC students will get the chance to experience the amazing virtual reality suite at the University of Hull’s cutting edge HIVE facility, take a 3D walk through the brand new UTC building and try their hand at a digital or mechatronic workshop.
Further events will follow on Saturday, November 12, and Saturday, January 14, 2017, and each event will include a visit to one of our key employer sponsors to find out more about career possibilities.
Students can find out more about the Open Events and secure their place by visiting www.rondearingutc.com/openevents
Vice principal Designate Steve Willacy said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming lots of students to these events and explaining how the combination of academic and vocational qualifications we will offer, supported by some of the region’s biggest and best companies, will give them the edge in the competition for jobs and university places.”
The Ron Dearing UTC will open next to Hull New Theatre in Hull city centre in September 2017 and will ultimately accommodate up to 600 students, aged 14 to 19. It will specialise in digital technology and mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering.
The UTC is named after Hull-born Lord Ron Dearing, an educational reformer who promoted technical and vocational education. It is backed by lead educational partner the University of Hull and five of the area’s largest and most successful employers – KCOM; Siemens; consumer health leader RB; global medical technology business Smith & Nephew and specialist engineering business Spencer Group – and is also supported by Hull City Council.