Tech corner

Software pioneer APD backs employer-led school and drive to develop tech talent


APD Communications is backing the drive to develop a new generation of tech talent by supporting Hull’s employer-led school.

The company – a market leader in developing software for emergency services organisations and mission-critical operations – has become a Major Partner of the pioneering Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC).

APD’s support for the school includes sponsorship of the Ron Dearing UTC Boardroom which has been branded with imagery illustrating the company’s work with blue light services and critical control operations across the UK and abroad.

The branded Boardroom also promotes APD’s vision to inspire digital leaders of the future in the city where the business was founded and continues to prosper.

Ron Dearing UTC has been established to create a pipeline of talented and work-ready young people with advanced digital and engineering skills. The school is supported by Founding Partners the University of Hull, KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group, who have been joined by a powerful line-up of other leading local employers, including APD.

Ron Dearing UTC’s employer-driven education model and curriculum combines academic excellence in the core subjects of English, maths and sciences with specialist studies in digital technology and mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering. 

APD Managing Director Mike Isherwood said: “We’re proud to be a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and to support the school’s important mission to develop young people with the digital skills that are so much in demand by local employers.

“We’re huge fans of the school’s employer-led model and how the business partners are so heavily involved in shaping the curriculum to ensure students gain the skills, qualifications and practical experience that companies like us really need.

“We have a well-established graduate employment and internship programme with the University of Hull and backing Ron Dearing UTC is the next natural step for us to take in developing and promoting digital skills in the region.

“We’re delighted with how the Boardroom promotes our partnership. It’s a really inspiring space for the teaching staff, representatives of the employer sponsors and students to use.”

Founded by two academics from the University of Hull, APD has developed cutting-edge digital technology in the city for more than 30 years.

APD employs more than 100 staff, mainly software developers – the company’s super-talented “geeks with goals” – who create critical, life-saving software used by the police and other emergency services organisations across the UK, as well as transport and aviation operators nationally and internationally.

Based at Newland Science Park adjacent to the University of Hull, APD’s technology is used by one in two UK police forces; helps to run the London Underground; and is a key part of the critical communications infrastructure at Dubai International – the world’s busiest airport.

APD Marketing Executive Jane Cross said: “Our partnership with Ron Dearing UTC enables us to play an active role in inspiring and cultivating the next generation of software developers and engineers – the digital innovators who will drive the region’s economic growth.

“It also presents the opportunity for us to promote the exciting career opportunities available to students on their doorstep.

“Our teams develop vital software and digital infrastructure for the emergency services and mission-critical organisations across the UK and around the world. Students at Ron Dearing UTC can aspire to join us and work on creating technologies that help to protect and preserve society.”

Ron Dearing UTC opened in September 2017 with an initial intake of 230 students and will grow to a capacity of 600 learners, aged from 14 to 19, by September 2020. Students apply their academic learning to real-life projects set by the employer sponsors, study for professional qualifications in high demand by industry, and are guided by business mentors from the partner companies.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We’re delighted to have APD Communications among our Major Partners and as the sponsor of our Boardroom.

“It’s exciting for our students for us to work so closely with a fast-growing company pioneering world-class software solutions right here in Hull.

“APD is a brilliant example of the opportunities available to tech-savvy young people within the region and illustrates why there is such a need for the broader and deeper pool of digital talent we are committed to developing.”

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