The University’s relationship with Santander has been renewed at an event attended by senior staff from both organisations.
The event, taking place in the University’s refurbished Sustainability Hub, celebrated a new agreement with the bank that will see funding continue for a range of education, entrepreneurship and employability initiatives for students.
It brought together businesses, students, academics and members of the public to network, and was attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Petts CBE and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise Professor Jerry Roberts, as well as Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities.
Santander Universities’ aim is to provide life-changing opportunities to more people over the next three years than it has in the previous ten. It is asking the University to ensure the continued funding is focused on helping those from ‘widening participation’ backgrounds, who may not traditionally have benefited from higher education. Santander Universities is also asking that there is an equal gender split among those receiving funds.
Since beginning in 2011, the partnership has provided a range of opportunities to students, helping prepare them for life after university. Through participation in national contests like the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, students in all subjects and from all backgrounds gain experience in business, and a crucial advantage in the jobs market.
In 2018 the University’s two entrants in the awards both made it through to the semi-finals, with Smibbs Skincare, a natural skincare company started by MSc Planning student Joe Smithyman, making the finals.
Santander has funded scholarships and bursaries, grants, prizes and careers initiatives at the University, supporting entrepreneurial skill development for students. The assistance it gives budding entrepreneurs is delivered in collaboration with the University’s Formation Zone business incubator, Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN) and commercial arm, Enterprise Solutions.
A funded internship programme has benefited small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) regionally as well as the students involved, while initiatives like The Starting Post, Plymouth’s only start-up business network give a boost to the local business community.
Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK said:
“Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. It’s been great to meet students and staff, and to see first-hand the real impact of our joint programmes.
“I’m delighted that Santander is able to support the University of Plymouth with funding for a variety of activities including an internship scheme which is helping to improve the employability of recent graduates in the region as well as helping local businesses access new talent.”
Read about a recent trip to Barcelona by the Captain of the University’s women’s football team Ella Croft, made possible thanks to a Santander scholarship.