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Business support for MK:U, the proposed new technical university in Milton Keynes, is continuing to grow with the latest addition of global computer security giant @McAfee to the list of international, national and local businesses backing the plans. McAfee becomes the hundredth business to have signed up to the MK:U Business Supporters Group believing that the proposed university is key to providing both their future skills needs and the UK as a whole.

MK:U is planned to be a new model university for Milton Keynes, designed to meet urgent technological and skills gaps. The vision for the new, ground-breaking university is one that is hands-on, focused on a curriculum for the digital economy, and specifically addressing the employment needs of organisations.

The development of MK:U is being led by Cranfield University in partnership with Milton Keynes Council, with plans to open its doors to students fully in 2024.

Together, the members of the MK:U Business Supporters Group employ over 700,000 people in the UK alone, companies include Arriva, Bosch, BT, Capita, Grant Thornton, Network Rail, PwC, and now McAfee, all of whom recognise the need for MK:U for their own economic growth. Santander UK, recently cited MK:U as a key element in its decision to locate its new £150m Digital Hub into Milton Keynes and has committed £10 million capital funding, as well as £20 million of in-kind support, to MK.U.

Professor Lynette Ryals OBE, Chief Executive of MK:U Ltd and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University, said: 

“Having businesses such as McAfee backing our plans just shows the strength of support there is for our plans for MK:U. With a hundred international, national and local businesses committing themselves as supporters, our plans for MK:U to meet the needs of employers and the economy are developing at pace.

“MK:U will be different by design and will completely transform how we think about higher education. The UK’s higher education sector is rightly championed as one of the finest in the world but like all great things it needs to adapt and change to continue to meet the demands of society.

“Employers tell us of their desperate need for technical graduates who are ready for the world of work from day one. At MK:U, the needs of employers will be hard-wired into our educational offering, meaning our graduates will have not just the technical but also the professional skills to succeed.” 

Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and McAfee Fellow, McAfee, said: 

“This is a great opportunity for our business.  We are passionate about supporting education to help bridge the gap and solve the skills shortages. As such, we are confident MK:U would be well placed to meet the economy’s needs of technological and digital skills, and become an invaluable addition to the STEM education market in the UK. We strongly believe online security should always be at the heart of technology design and this broad partnership will ensure safer and more successful technologies will be built in the future,”

Milton Keynes Council Leader Cllr Pete Marland said:

 “We’re grateful for the overwhelming support towards MK:U. This kind of commitment shows that the vocational approach we’re taking is a good one for graduates, employers, for MK:U’s supporters and ultimately for our local economy. As well as attracting smart people to Milton Keynes, people who can solve problems and see new opportunities for where they live and work, we’ll be growing our own. It’s a great fit for Milton Keynes’ growing base of high tech firms.”

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