Proposed design for MK-U produced by Hopkins Architects

MK:U, the proposed new-model university in Milton Keynes, will be piloting its first four Degree Apprenticeship courses. MK:U has formed a strategic partnership with Grant Thornton UK LLP to design and deliver the courses from September 2021.

The two organisations are working to help businesses make the best use of their apprenticeship levy to upskill their workforce and to recruit new talent to help them grow.

Backed by Cranfield University and Milton Keynes Council, MK:U said it will address the urgent technological and skills gaps that exist in the UK economy.

The vision for the new university is one that is hands-on, focused on a curriculum for the digital economy, and specifically addressing the employment needs of organisations in the 21st century.

The pilot programme is supported by SEMLEP, through the Local Growth Fund, and by Santander which has already cited MK:U as one of the reasons for its decision to make a £150 million investment in a new headquarters building in Milton Keynes.

Professor Lynette Ryals OBE, chief executive of MK:U Ltd and pro-vice-chancellor at Cranfield University, said:

“This is an important stepping stone in the plans for the realisation of MK:U. For businesses, this is the chance for their employees to access the latest business-focussed thinking in higher education, using their Apprenticeship Levy.

“For employees, it is a chance to get a high-quality university degree with a strong focus on new and emerging technologies without having to bear tuition fees.

“Our pilot courses have been the result of extensive engagement with businesses both large and small and help them address the critical skills gaps that they face.

“As we develop plans, alongside our partners, for the realisation of MK:U, we will be continuing to work with businesses to develop an educational programme that meets the skills needs of the 21st century.”

The first cohorts will be trained from MK:U’s new temporary home in Bouverie House in the city centre and close to Central Milton Keynes station, although learners will be offered flexibility to attend in person, online, or to catch up later.

Plans for the realisation of MK:U’s permanent home continue to be developed by Cranfield University, Milton Keynes Council and its business supporters who are all pressing the government to support MK:U.

The first four Level 6 BSc degree apprenticeships, available from September 2021, are:

  • Chartered Manager
  • Data Scientist
  • Cyber Security
  • Digital and Technology Solutions

Employers and would-be apprentices can find out more about these opportunities at a series of free online events that MK:U is running from 7-11 June 2021.