Hull Esteem Consortium are due to begin works on a £3.7m project to increase capacity at Ron Dearing UTC, by reconfiguring space in the school’s existing building and creating a hi-tech new Centre for Sustainability in Hull’s former Central Fire Station, adjacent to the school.

Focusing on decarbonisation and renewables, the expansion will support the Humber’s growth as a leading region for green energy technologies by providing local industry with an additional 100 highly skilled and qualified potential employees every year.

The expansion will also enable an additional 200 students to study Level 3 qualifications in engineering, creative and digital, increasing the school’s overall capacity to 800 students.

Ron Dearing UTC Principle Sarah Pashley said: “This is great news for the region and its young people. Having received approval for our application for funding, we can now focus on turning our plans into reality.

“We’re really excited by this opportunity to offer more students the chance to benefit from our unique employer-led education model and increase the pipeline of talent we provide to local employers.

“We are extremely concerned about climate change and want to play our part in supporting the Humber’s contribution to meeting the UKs net zero target. As jobs in the green energy sector grow rapidly, our expansion will ensure significantly more local young people are well placed to take advantage of these opportunities.

“Our vision is for our Centre for Sustainability to be a ‘smart building’ that is used as a teaching resource for our students and a model of outstanding practice in terms of green renovation projects.

“I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our amazing employer partners – without their outstanding support this project would not be possible. The backing we have received from Hull City Council has also been crucial, as the council is leasing the former fire station building to us on a long-term peppercorn rent.”

The new Centre of Sustainability is expected to open in September 2022. It will feature renewables workshops as well as digital studios equipped with Computer-Aided Design (CAD), augmented reality and virtual reality software as well as 3D printers. The facilities and equipment will enable students to create product prototypes to address real world industry challenges.

Additional Sixth Form independent study space will be incorporated into the Centre for Sustainability and the school’s existing Ørsted Library. In addition, a number of new science labs will be developed within the school’s current building to broaden the highly successful Science curriculum to include Digital Health.

Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged from 14 to 19 and offers a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

The former Central Fire Station building originally opened in 1929 and was rebuilt after the Second World War. It closed in 2017 and Hull City Council subsequently acquired the site with a view to identifying a new use for the building.