A group of former Manchester United footballers has teamed up with organisations including Microsoft to launch a new college in the centre of Manchester.
Manchester United “Class of 92” footballers Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt are working with Microsoft, Trafford Council, Lancaster University and others on UA92 (University Academy ’92), which will offer 16-19 year olds a combination of academic, digital and life skills.
“Our aim is that UA92 graduates would leave with an academic qualification, of course, but also with a range of other skills such as how to deal with pressure, understand finance, leadership and presentational skills, and also how to maintain a healthy body and mind,” said Gary Neville.
The campus will feature a Microsoft Technology Centre that will include briefing and experience centres and a virtual reality suite, alongside areas for local start-ups to learn and network. Microsoft’s technology will also support the university’s “Career Passport” – a competency-based performance and talent assessment tracking application.
“UA92’s mission to nurture talent and ambition is closely aligned with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more,” said Derrick McCourt, general manager of Microsoft UK’s customer success unit. “This is an industry-education partnership. We want to develop young people who can land in companies and make a difference, as well as futureproofing their digital skills. We believe in giving young people the right skills, and that every person in the UK can be part of the fourth industrial revolution.”
The project also aligns with Microsoft’s Digital Skills initiative with its commitment to ensure that three million UK students are engaged in coding and computing by 2020, the training of 30,000 new digital apprentices by the same year, helping 30,000 public sector officials learn new digital skills, and re-training 500,000 cloud experts.
The UK Government’s Department for Education said the project was a “ground-breaking new model of higher education”.
The founders and partners will now launch a three-month consultation with stakeholders. The first students are expected to start at UA92 in late 2019.