On Tuesday 24th November, Director of Santander Universities Matt Hutnell and Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham Anthony McClaran, signed a new three-year partnership agreement to support initiatives at the University.
Santander, through Santander Universities, works in partnership with its university network, with the aim of supporting initiatives in the areas of Education, Entrepreneurship and Employability to support students, particularly those from under-represented groups, in achieving their goals.
The University hosted a Zoom meeting to mark the occasion, which provided an opportunity to discuss common priorities, and upcoming initiatives to support Black students across their university network. This echoes the St Mary’s core value of Inclusiveness and opens the door to exciting collaborations ahead.
In the meeting, participants including Jenny Willott, St Mary’s Director of Enterprise and Innovation, Yasmina Mallam-Hassam, Head of Employability Services, and Santander Relationship Manager, Holly Price, were able to hear first-hand from recipients about their experiences and how they had benefited from Santander’s support.
Santander Universities have supported Start Up St Mary’s, providing training and support for students interested in running their own business. Students with a business are eligible to win an investment prize to help grow their business. Santander Universities have also supported paid internships and scholarships, supporting a number of students across St Mary’s, creating opportunities and helping prepare them for the world of work.
It was inspiring to hear how the winners of Start Up St Mary’s are using their prize funding to tackle global issues from Claudio Owusu, founder of Gusto snacks which fights food waste, to Avril Cassell, founder of Avril Cassell Health & Nutrition which tackles health inequalities in the BAME population, and Cristianah Oyenekan, founder of Databyte which looks at issues around data ownership and monetisation.
Claudio Owusu was also a participant in the 2020 Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs programme, a programme of dedicated entrepreneurship support for student and graduate start-ups across their university network.
Internship participants Carl Orza and Cerys Dean talked about the difference they were making to small businesses, designing social media campaigns and PR strategies.
It was clear that the students had benefited from a range of employability support throughout their studies, both those supported by Santander Universities and those run separately by St Mary’s University, as they had undertaken workplace learning modules, work placements, internships and the ground-breaking Be SMART professional development programme for BAME students.
As part of the new agreement, Santander Universities will continue to support internships and Start Up St Mary’s and will provide support for the new Employability Confident programme for students with disabilities.
Participants on the call discussed the difference these programmes had made to their confidence and self-belief, their sense of belonging and their relationship with St Mary’s, enabling them to grow in confidence through training, experience and support.
St Mary’s is looking forward to the next exciting chapter, working with Santander Universities to expand opportunities for our students, preparing them for the world of work and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.