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Leaders of the blue chip businesses backing Hull’s pioneering new employer-led school have been given an exclusive preview of the new £10 million building.
In a first for Hull and East Yorkshire, the state-of-the-art Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) will specialise in digital technology and mechatronics and is packed with £1.6 million of cutting-edge technology, with learning opportunities available for up to 600 students.
Founding Partners KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group were joined by other sponsors to see inside the impressive new school just a week before the doors open to the UTC’s first students on September 11.
Charlie Spencer OBE, 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.
“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.”
The UTC has been developed by Hull Esteem and built by Sewell Construction on behalf of Hull City Council, in tandem with the redevelopment of the neighbouring Hull New Theatre.
Hull City Council gifted the city centre site to enable the school to be built and has provided initial start-up funding.
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 have an initial intake of 230 students aged 14 and 16, growing to a capacity of 600, aged from 14 to 19, by September 2020.
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, which is made up of two blocks and an adjoining conference centre, has also been developed using market-leading technology.
Mark Boothby, Project Manager at Sewell Construction, said: “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.”
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.
The aim of this innovative approach is to create a new pipeline of much-needed engineering and technical talent, giving Ron Dearing UTC students the edge in the competitive jobs market.