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      Investing for Prosperity in the Centre of the Arc

      When thinking about the Oxford-Cambridge Arc’s scientific and technological potential, a lot of people understandably tend to focus on the two cities which bookend the region. I believe that is a mistake.

      18 Feb 2022 Nathan Bostock, CEO, Santander UK

      To truly tap into the full potential of the Arc, it is vital that we drive investment across the whole region and work collaboratively to fuse together all of its key towns and cities. Towns like Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cranfield, and Northampton are now some of the fastest growing centres for R&D in the UK, and home to ground-breaking innovation in areas ranging from cyber security and data analytics to driverless cars and autonomous drone delivery.

      At Santander UK we believe passionately in the potential of the Arc, and that’s why we pledged a substantial financial commitment in 2019 to MK:U, Milton Keynes’ forward-thinking institute for higher education backed by Cranfield University, committing to the revolution in digital skills that will be indispensable to our future high-tech society. Alongside this, we have also invested £150m into a purpose-built headquarters in Milton Keynes, recognising the city’s position as Europe’s leading Smart City, its growing population of well-educated young people, and its great potential as a place for our colleagues to live and work. 

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      The Arc is a perfect place in which to develop these skills, as it is home to a vast number of innovative businesses, both large and small, as well as playing host to a number of globally renowned universities.

      It’s crucially important that businesses invest in the higher education system, supporting these institutions in developing courses that deliver the skills that employers will need in the future. With the right investment and skills, the centre of the Arc can match the wealth and prosperity of Oxford and Cambridge.

      To do this, Santander has collaborated with MK:U to launch a business focused degree apprenticeship scheme, enabling colleagues to pursue a Cranfield BSc degree at MK:U whilst working. My intention is that this will give young people a chance to gain experience in the workplace, while providing an education focused on solving real problems that can be applied to an increasingly digital business like Santander.

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      I look forward to seeing the fruits from continued investment and growth in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area of the central Arc. By fully realising the potential of this area, we will be securing a bright future for the Arc, its people, and the businesses that are now setting up in the region.

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