Designs Signage Solutions alongside two other leading businesses have teamed up with Hull’s employer-led school to open up further exciting opportunities for students and help shape their potential future employees.
Designs and specialist pipework fabricators and steelwork erectors CDS Energy Services have become Major Partners of Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC), while overhead line, underground cable and substation system leaders LSTC Group has become a Partner.
Working alongside the school’s Founding Partners, the Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated school’s Major Partners and Partners develop and deliver employer-led projects, provide work experience placements and lead the careers information, advice and guidance programme.
Major Partners also play a key role in the development of the UTC’s unique, employer-engaged curriculum, while both Partners and Major Partners contribute financially to the school and recruit many students as apprentices within their businesses.
Established almost 30 years ago, Hull-based Designs Signage Solutions has grown to a 41-strong team operating from 48,000sq ft premises, offering bespoke briefs, designs and installation signage solutions to retail, corporate, sports stadia, vehicle livery and building sectors across the UK.
Drawing Manager Chris Murphy said becoming a Ron Dearing UTC Major Partner will help to establish a new pipeline of talent in the industry. The company has already employed one former Ron Dearing UTC student, Ben Moodie, as a trainee in the Graphics Production department.
Chris said: “We want to engage with young talent and this partnership gives us a platform to work with the students, identify rising stars before they leave school and show them our industry and what we’re about.
“Ron Dearing UTC acclimatises its students to a full working week, rather than a normal school day, to help them get ready for work. By working together and playing a part in the curriculum, we’ll be able to help to shape what we want to see in our future employees.”
CDS, which has its head office at Burma Drive in east Hull, works in the oil, gas, petrochemical and nuclear industries. The business has 30 staff and dozens of additional subcontractors, with clients including Tricoya, Vivergo Fuels, px Group, Mitsubishi and more.
Managing Director Danny Laybourne said the business plans to take on Ron Dearing UTC students as apprentices in the future, potentially including in Planning and Quality Assurance (QA) roles.
He said: “There’s a lack of young people coming through in this industry and we can see that shortage of quality continuing, which is why we wanted to get involved in Ron Dearing UTC.
“With Ron Dearing students, we won’t have to start from scratch because they will have completed courses which stand them in good stead to progress within the industry.”
New Partner LSTC Group provides engineering solutions to the electricity sector, specialising in the design and survey of overhead lines, underground cables and substation systems in the UK and internationally. Alongside it’s Driffield head office, the company also has offices in Belfast, Derby, London and South Wales.
Finance Director Richard Shipley said the company is keen to increase its 85‐strong workforce to 100 within the next two years, including more women in engineering, and plans to offer opportunities for work experience, apprenticeships and paid employment to Ron Dearing UTC students.
He said: “I believe that in order to fulfil all of the ambitious plans to achieve carbon net zero and clean energy, it will require a lot of work on infrastructure across the country and globally. There are not enough engineers in the world to do that work and the only solution is to bring more people into engineering.
“We want to be part of encouraging people to come into this industry and Ron Dearing UTC is doing a great job of facilitating that.”
Every one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Year 13 students have gone on to exciting apprenticeships, university, employment, further education or the Armed Forces for three consecutive years.
Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Designs Signage Solutions and CDS Energy Services as Major Partners and LSTC Group as a Partner.
“Their decades of combined experience will be invaluable to our students and open up further career opportunities in these growing industries.”
Opened in 2017, 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, Ideal Boilers, INEOS Acetyls, Kohler Mira, Luxinar, NEC Software Solutions, Ørsted, Sauce, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.