Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive Officer, Santander UK and Professor Lynette Ryals OBE, Chief Executive of MK:U

MK:U, the new higher education institution in Milton Keynes, celebrated a milestone with the start of its first degree apprenticeship course.

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

Welcoming the cohort of Santander management apprentices, Nathan Bostock, ceo of Santander UK, officially opened MK:U’s temporary home at the newly refurbished Bouverie House, in the city centre.

Nathan Bostock said:

“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.

“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.”

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

MK:U’s first cohort of Level 6 degree apprentices are existing Santander employees studying for their Chartered Manager Apprenticeship.

Future cohorts from employers in the region will study digital technology, data science, and cyber security, creating new jobs for school and college leavers and helping existing employees develop new skills.

Learners will be offered flexibility to attend in person at the state-of-the-art facility in Bouverie House; to join online; or to catch up later.

Professor Lynette Ryals OBE, chief executive of MK:U, said:

“We are delighted to welcome our first Santander apprentices. MK:U offers innovative, exciting, business-relevant education. We believe our approach of learning, based on real business and societal issues, is the future for higher education.”

MK:U will be launching an Innovation Hub in 2022, including a small business scale-up programme and a high-technology makerspace alongside an Advanced Communications Laboratory.

Employers, would-be apprentices and entrepreneurs can find out more about these opportunities at

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