Manchester United’s Class of 92 has announced that they are offering 92 grants of £5,000 to people from Greater Manchester that have been financially impacted by coronavirus, to help them access higher education.
Kickstart Grants aim to enable those who are out of work or living on reduced means due to the coronavirus outbreak, to study for a degree or a shorter course at University Academy 92 (UA92).
UA92 is an Old Trafford-based higher education institution co-founded by the Class of 92 and Lancaster University.
The financial support aims to help people who may not have previously considered higher education to gain qualifications and open up new employment options in future.
UA92 co-founder Gary Neville said: “We already know that the impact of COVID-19 on Greater Manchester will be significant and that people without higher education qualifications or degrees will face the biggest hit to their income. That’s why we want to do what we can to help people develop their skills and future employment prospects.
“’We’ve set up the Kickstart Grants scheme to increase our support for people to access higher education - perhaps people who have never even considered it before - and open up new possibilities for themselves and their families.”
Figures from think tank the Centre for Cities reveal that the number of Greater Manchester people claiming unemployment benefits rose by 2.6% to 6.7% in just one month from March to April 2020. It’s the fifth biggest increase in the country (1 – see attached release).
According to the Resolution Foundation, young people are most likely to suffer the economic impacts of COVID-19 with an additional 640,000 18-24 year olds likely to be unemployed in 2020 alone (2).
Gary’s Class of 92 colleague and UA92 co-founder Ryan Giggs adds: “One of our main drivers in setting up UA92 has been to break down the barriers many people face to gaining higher level skills. We want people that might not have had the most privileged start to gain outstanding qualifications and unlock new career opportunities”
Grants are available across all UA92’s degree and seven-month Certificate of Higher Education courses which include accounting and finance, business, computer science, media and sport.
Chair of the UA92 Board, Marnie Millard said: “We hope the Kickstart Grants will encourage those, who have faced challenges since the pandemic began, to feel supported in their next steps and that there are options open to them.
“I am a believer in the power of higher education to transform people’s lives and open up new avenues. We also know that when more people gain qualifications beyond college-level it has wider economic benefits.”
UA92 puts an emphasis on preparing students for employment, working with partners including Microsoft, KPMG and TalkTalk to design its courses and offer students insight and experience in the real world of work. It also supports students to develop the character traits that prospective employers are looking for, such as resilience, leadership and problem-solving skills, alongside their academic learning.
Anyone that lives in Greater Manchester and who has been financially impacted since 1 March 2020 is eligible to apply for a Kickstart Grant. To find out more and apply, visit www.ua92.ac.uk.