University Academy 92 welcomes its first students

University Academy 92 welcomes its first students
The institute founded by Manchester United footballers aims to equip students with digital skills

Elly Yates-Roberts |

University Academy 92 (UA92), a higher education institute set up by Microsoft, a group of former Manchester United footballers and Lancaster University has officially welcomed its first students.

UA92 gets its name from the famous ‘Class of 92’, of which founders Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt were all members – the players that led the Manchester United football team to its 1990s victories. The institute aims to increase the number of young people with the digital skills essential for today’s workplace.

It will use Office 365 and Microsoft Teams to facilitate digital learning and improve communication between staff and students. “We’re using Teams as our digital learning environment, which means that while students are learning, they’ll be developing digital literacy at the same time,” said Craig Gaskell, principal and chief executive of UA92. “Staff also use Teams to ensure they can work together wherever they are in the world.”

UA92 has teamed up with companies such as Microsoft and KPMG to develop the curriculum, offer opportunities to students and provide a technology-focused experience. The first 100 students were enrolled onto business, sport and media courses in September 2019, with more joining in November and January. Courses in computer science, law and public health are expected to be added next year. Within 10 years the student body is expected to consist of around 6,000 students.

All courses feature digital skills as a key component throughout, with some offering modules focused on technology. Four hours of course content will also be delivered online each week to get students used to working in a flexible, digital world. 

UA92 also aims to prepare its students for life in a broader way. Each student will have a personal development coach to help them progress along a ‘Target Talent Curriculum’, helping them to build emotional and cognitive intelligence.

The university will be located at the former Kellogg’s cereal factory in Stretford, Greater Manchester. The campus features classrooms and areas for socialising and studying. More unique facilities include a human performance lab. Microsoft will also oversee an office within the facility.

“Manchester has become an amazing, innovative hub with a fantastic start-up community and some amazing Microsoft partners,” said Derick McCourt, general manager of the customer success unit at Microsoft UK. “Having this flagship Microsoft space gives us a place to bring in customers and partners and give them a space to collaborate. We are investing in Manchester and the North.”

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