Pioneering Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) opened today, beginning a new chapter for education and business in Hull and East Yorkshire.
The first students were greeted by Principal Sarah Pashley and her staff as they entered Ron Dearing UTCs state-of-the-art new building, which has been designed to replicate development processes in industry.
The UTC is Hull and East Yorkshires first employer-led school, created to develop a new pipeline of young talent with advanced digital and engineering skills.
The school breaks the mould for education locally, with the £10m building, facilities, technology and curriculum all developed in partnership with some or the regions leading employers.
Students will apply their academic learning to real-life projects set by the employer sponsors and study for professional qualifications in high demand by industry. They will also be supported by business mentors from the partner companies.
Mrs Pashley welcomed the first intake of 230 students, aged 14 and 16, and said: Today is a hugely exciting day for everyone involved in our new school, especially our first students.
This is a fabulous opportunity for every one of them to realise their potential and fulfil their ambitions, supported by our excellent teaching staff and experts from the very best businesses in the area.
So much has been achieved to get us to this day. Now we can focus on working with our students to equip them with the academic, technical and employability skills to have great careers and play their part in an exciting era of growth and opportunity for the regions economy.
Mrs Pashley paid tribute to the schools employer sponsors who she said had made a huge contribution to creating an entirely new model for education locally.
She added: Were really fortunate to have the support of so many great local employers and we simply couldnt have got to this point without them.
Their support has been amazing and they will continue to be deeply involved in creating a truly unique place to develop skills for fulfilling and rewarding careers in an ever-evolving digital world.
Our vision is to unlock our students infinite potential to excel and enable them to get the edge in the competition for jobs and university places. By delivering on that vision we will also pay back our employer sponsors by supplying them with the talent they need to continue to innovate and grow.
Ron Dearing UTC is backed by the University of Hull and its Founding Partner employers:
KCOM, the Hull-based communications and IT services provider;
RB, the worlds leading consumer health and hygiene company, currently investing £105m in a new global Centre for Scientific Excellence in Hull.
Siemens Gamesa, which has invested in world-class wind turbine manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations in Hull;
Smith & Nephew, the global medical technology business with major manufacturing and research and development facilities in Hull;
Spencer Group, the Hull-based specialist engineering business.
It has also been supported extensively by Hull City Council and has a range of other business sponsors, including Major Partners Arco, the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI), Fujitsu, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.
The school, which is located next to Hull New Theatre in Hull city centre, has an opening staff of 30, which will increase to 50 when the UTC reaches its capacity of 600 students, aged from 14 to 19, in September 2020. All the teaching staff are highly qualified with many also having extensive experience in industry.
Students and their parents said they were excited to be joining a school backed by so many major employers.
James Court, 14, said: Im nervous, but excited about coming here. I think Ill get great experience that will help me get a good job. I feel honoured to have joined this school, with all the big companies working with it.
His father Paul added: Im absolutely made up for James. Engineering is what hes always wanted to do. Hes always been into taking things to bits, finding out how they work and putting them back together.
This school fits into his plans perfectly. Its going to be really good for him.
Fourteen-year-old Scarlett Van-Raamsdonk said: This is totally different to other schools and I cant wait to get started.
Im interested in engineering and like hands-on jobs, so this school is perfect for me. Its great that so many big companies are involved, because that can open the door to jobs with engineering companies like Siemens and Spencer Group.
Felicity Robson, also 14, added: Im so excited. I wanted to come here because I think it will really help my future. If you want to work for a company like Siemens you have an advantage at this school because youre already connected to them.
The UTCs Chair of Governors, Charlie Spencer OBE, Executive Chairman of Spencer Group, said: Our future business success depends on having young employees with relevant technical and digital skills and the attitude to succeed. Im confident Ron Dearing UTC and its staff can deliver on their part of that challenge. As employers, we have a vested interest in ensuring that they do.
All the partner employers have a crucial role to play in working with the teaching staff to create an amazing legacy of skills, opportunity and business growth.
Ron Dearing UTC offers a unique curriculum blending 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.
The school has a small number of places still available in Year 12 (age 16), starting this term. Students or parents who wish to apply or find out more should call 01482 222299 or e-mail [email protected]
The UTC is also taking applications for places in Year 10 and Year 12 for September 2018. To apply, go to www.rondearingutc.com and complete an online application form. Prospective students and parents can also experience the state-of-the-art school and its facilities at an open evening on Thursday, October 5. To register for a place, visit the website.