MK:U opens new interim base and welcomes first class of Santander apprentices

Oct 14, 2021

Santander CEO Natha Bostock and Professor Lynette Ryals, CEO of MK:U

A PIONEER group of management apprentices from banking giant Santander are the first to begin their studies at MK:U, the new higher education institution in Milton Keynes.

Santander’s UK chief executive Nathan Bostock is pictured with his counterpart at MK:U Professor Lynette Ryals after he officially opened the university’s temporary home at Bouverie House in Central Milton Keynes.

Santander and MK:U have collaborated to produce an innovative approach to education that will make a substantial contribution to new technology skills development for the Oxford Cambridge Arc and the wider UK, he said.

Backed by Cranfield University and Milton Keynes Council, with support from Santander and from SEMLEP through the Local Growth Fund, MK:U aims to address urgent technological and skills gaps in the UK economy.

It plans to be a hands-on university, designed with and for business, and will focus on a digital economy curriculum specifically addressing the employment needs of organisations in the 21st century. 

Its first cohort of Level 6 degree apprentices are Santander employees studying for their Chartered Manager Apprenticeship. Future students from employers in the region will study digital technology, data science and cyber security. 

“MK:U offers innovative, exciting, business-relevant education,” said Professor Ryals. “We believe our approach of learning, based on real business and societal issues, is the future for higher education.”

MK:U: An artist’s impression of the new university’s permanent home.

Plans for a permanent home for MK:U are being developed by Cranfield University, Milton Keynes Council and its business supporters who are all encouraging the government to support MK:U. 

Construction work continues on Santander’s new UK headquarters campus in Central Milton Keynes, opposite Milton Keynes Central railway station.

“Santander was drawn to partner with MK:U because of its focus on applied, business-relevant education specialising in the digital and data skills businesses need to succeed,” said Mr Bostock. “As we move our UK headquarters to Milton Keynes, we are committed to investing in our people, developing and growing our talented workforce of the future.”

MK:U is planning to launch an Innovation Hub in 2022, including a small business scale-up programme and a high-technology makerspace alongside a UK-leading advanced communications laboratory. 

Find out more at www.mku.ac.uk.

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