Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has brought on board four new, industry-leading partners to open up even more opportunities for its students.
The UK’s leading shower manufacturer Kohler Mira, laser specialist Luxinar and smart tech company Sauce have become the employer-led school’s latest major partners, while Heald, which designs and manufactures world-class hostile vehicle mitigation systems, has become a partner.
As employer partners, the companies contribute financially to the school, play a key role in developing the curriculum and set industry-standard projects for students to work on. They also support students by providing careers information, advice and guidance as well as offering work experience opportunities and potentially apprenticeships.
The employers are committed to equipping Ron Dearing UTC students with the skills they want to see in their future employees and to ensuring they are work-ready when they leave school.
This year marks a century of Kohler Mira being at the forefront of the shower market thanks to pioneering developments in technology.
Derek Atkinson, operations manager at Kohler Mira (Hull), based in Melton, East Yorkshire, said: “We come into our centenary year no less committed to nurturing talent and pride ourselves on our continued work with the STEM community to support this.
“Having recently seen a decline in STEM activities from local secondary schools, we turned to Ron Dearing UTC for help. We were encouraged by how this employer-led school supports its students with pursuing careers in STEM.
“Already our partnership has meant we have been able to assist with the inclusion of a robotics unit into the curriculum. This allows us to support the development of much-needed specialist skills, such as robotics and process controls.”
Luxinar, which has its headquarters in Hessle, has been at the forefront of laser technology for more than 20 years and has installed more than 18,000 lasers worldwide for use in a vast range of industries and applications.
Operations director Russell Jeynes said: “We’re keen to work with Ron Dearing UTC students to develop their understanding of engineering, which will help shape our local future talent pipeline.
“We want to inspire and encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related careers, showing that their hard work and our support will open up the worlds of science and engineering.
“We’re developing our apprenticeship programme for students who are passionate about pursuing a career in laser technology and we hope the experience Ron Dearing UTC students gain from us will help them stand out from the crowd.”
Sauce is based at Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub, and specialises in working with large, traditional companies as their digital partners, creating solutions to key business challenges to keep them ahead of the technology curve.
Chief executive Matt Weldon said: “Our projects for Ron Dearing UTC students will include planning, designing and building a mobile app, followed by quality control, and they’ll work closely with our project management team.
“We’ll look at taking on Ron Dearing UTC students as apprentices and they’ll come to us work-ready, because the school’s hours match a full working week and they are used to being treated as young adults.
“We want the students to come into the workplace and hit the ground running, finding innovative ways to fix real world problems with tech.”
Hornsea-based Heald designs and manufactures innovative security bollards, road blockers and barriers. The business has secured some of the world’s most high-profile locations with advanced protection against hostile vehicle attacks and is a world-class innovator in perimeter security technology.
Co-owner and managing director Debbie Heald said: “Supporting young people has been important to Heald for many years and our partnership with Ron Dearing UTC will give us direct involvement in shaping our future workforce.
“We want to share some of our knowledge and expertise and get involved with work experience programmes. We also know any apprentices we take on from Ron Dearing UTC will already have the base skills we’re looking for.”
Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged between 14 and 19 and has a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.
Glenn Jensen, senior assistant orincipal for employer engagement and head of engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s a great credit to these employers that, during such difficult times, they continue to see the importance of investing in their future employees.
“These new partners will give us greater industry insight into electronics, robotics, programming and digital applications, to strengthen further our employer-led curriculum and ensure the best possible outcomes for our students.
“It’s invaluable for us to have realistic client briefs when working on projects linked to industry and these play a key role in expanding our students’ skillsets. Having these partners on board helps us to continue to bridge skills gaps in the engineering and digital sectors.”