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Santander earmarks £1m levy funding to tackle digital and tech skills gap at MK:U

BANKING giant Santander is preparing to invest more than £1 million in apprenticeship levy funding for businesses in Milton Keynes to use to upskill and reskill their staff.

It is working with MK:U, the new model digital and technical university in the city, to develop the skills of the future for its workforce and for the local community.

MK:U is Santander UK’s strategic education partner and the partnership will see its academics deliver innovative education and training in the company’s new headquarters at Unity Place, opposite Milton Keynes Central railway station. 

The announcement is part of Santander UK’s scholarships, skills and entrepreneurship programme which aims to help people access the educational opportunities and skills they need to fulfil their potential.

Professor Lynette Ryals pictured right, chief executive of MK:U, said: “The current digital skills gap requires a new approach and pioneering relationships with business. Our partnership with Santander opens up new learning opportunities to people and businesses in Milton Keynes. I am truly excited about the difference this will make and the positive ripple effect it will have in the regional tech ecosystem.”

Santander UK chairman William Vereker added: “We are committed to creating real opportunities, transforming lives and helping to drive economic prosperity across the UK. Santander has a long heritage and involvement in education and skills and we recognise that the challenges our country is facing require a new approach if we are to develop the skills tomorrow’s workforce will need.” 

MK:U is delivered in partnership by Cranfield University and Milton Keynes City Council. It and its curriculum is being designed with and for business, focusing the technological and digital skills needed for the future as well as connecting networks and communities through its Innovation Hub in Milton Keynes.

Cranfield University chief executive and Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Holford said: “It is fantastic to see Santander continue to invest in Milton Keynes. Cranfield University is proud of our commitment to Milton Keynes through MK:U and this partnership with Santander will enable us to make a huge difference, not only to local businesses but also to the lives of their employees.” 

Mr Vereker said: “We all have different backgrounds, different skills, different aspirations. Our new programme is designed to help thousands of people to fulfil their potential – whether they are a budding entrepreneur with a great business idea, someone in mid-career who is looking to reskill or a young person from an under-represented community who dreams of going to university.”

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