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Commerce and Industry

The Journal For Business to Business Marketing

Employer-led school’s latest partnership prepares students for industry leadership

Scarlett Allen-Horton with Lord Sugar

Students at Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) will be given exciting new opportunities to build on their industry-level skills and ambitions after Hull’s employer-led school linked up with an innovative recruitment company.

The school has joined forces with Harper Fox Partners, which pioneers leadership and executive search solutions for the global energy, engineering, technology and manufacturing industries.

Harper Fox Partners was founded by The Apprentice 2019 finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton and Lord Sugar, who hosts the popular BBC television series, has since invested in her business.

The company recognises skills shortages within the energy, technology and engineering sectors across the world and the team wants to encourage young people to pursue a career within these industries. It aims to do this by bringing “diverse talent” into these sectors, particularly females.

Ron Dearing UTC is the first educational partner Harper Fox Partners has teamed up with for its “From Classroom to Boardroom Alliance” initiative, which will inspire students to be the best they can be at the highest level while also offering mentorship and work experience opportunities, motivational talks, interview techniques, networking and more.

Scarlett, Founder and Business Director of Harper Fox Partners, which has offices in London and Birmingham, said business masterclasses, setting students various tasks and sharing some of their individual profiles as potential future leaders could also add value to working with Ron Dearing UTC students.

Work experience opportunities could also involve connecting students with some of Harper Fox Partners’ clients and potentially taking on students within the business in the future.

Scarlett said: “We’re really passionate about attracting more talent within the energy, engineering and technology sectors. We do this at leadership and board level. However, we also understand the importance of doing this at grass-roots level.

“There is, of course, a place for university education, but for these kinds of industries, the quicker you can have that mix of academia and hands-on experience with the employer, the better. Future employers are looking for that.

“Ron Dearing UTC is doing some fantastic work in the sector at the moment and offering their students exciting educational opportunities and different ways of doing things.

“They’re giving students the opportunity to fill that gap from the classroom to a working environment. 

“Ron Dearing UTC is inspirational I’m extremely impressed. I’m really looking forward to working with them and visiting the school in the future.”

Ron Dearing UTC in Hull city centre was rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted in its first inspection earlier this year and caters for students aged between 14 and 19. The school has a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering. 

Lord Sugar said: “The Harper Fox Partners From Classroom To Boardroom Alliance is a great initiative, created to help inspire the next generation of future leaders within the engineering and technology sectors.

“Having built highly-successful businesses within these industries, I am very aware of the skills deficit across the UK.  

“Therefore, we are pleased to announce our alliance with Ron Dearing UTC, an outstanding educational institute based in Hull, to help bridge this gap.”

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said the partnership with Harper Fox was a major positive for the school and students.

He said: “It’s such a privilege to have industry specialists in these sectors who run and work with national and global companies, such as Lord Sugar and Scarlett.

“Our students have access to people who can give them information and guidance about high-level jobs and what skills and management strategies they need, to aspire to what they want to achieve.

“Scarlett also wants to inspire young women to aim high in engineering and give females a voice in leadership roles, which is fantastic.

“We’re not just preparing our students for industry – we’re preparing them to lead industry.”

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