Sara Prowse of UA92 makes open offer to businesses to work with UA92

James Lappin and Sam Jardine of FieldFisher with Sara Prowse and Michael Taylor

Intense student support, a neurodiverse environment and an open offer to local businesses to work on live projects with the student.

They were the big three takeaways from a fascinating discussion led by Sara Prowse, chief executive of UA92, the guest at FieldFisher’s offices in Manchester in a special event with 

In a fireside chat she made an open offer to all businesses to come in and discuss working with the ‘disruptor’ university that now has 1200 students.

She started by telling her own life journey through commercial retail and fashion, taking a career break, then being enticed back by Gary Neville’s relentless enthusiasm and passion for a challenger university based in Manchester. 

Critical to the strategy of UA92 is its support for students who in most cases aren’t from families with experience of higher education.

She also revealed that 20% of the students have a disability, often not a physically visible one, and that the wayfinding on the campus was carefully designed to aid those students.

But she also spoke about how the university utilises the resources of its partners, like technology companies of the scale of Microsoft and TalkTalk, and with the heft of the Moulding Foundation. 

She described how funding will be in place for students beginning their undergraduate studies this September who will receive a Make It For Real package, which will ensure they have a laptop, a travel pass, free lunch every day, unlimited free data and a £150 home voucher.

“Achieving parity and demonstrating that anyone can attend university is our core mission at UA92 and we will continue to introduce initiatives such as the Greatness Unlocked Scholarship, our Make It For Real scheme and Bursary 92 programme, which is  supported by the Moulding Foundation, to encourage those who may not think University is a realistic option for them,” she said.

She also shared insights around UA92’s aim to attract over 50% of its student base from the most disadvantaged areas in Greater Manchester against the national average of 13.5%.

And as for working with Gary Neville. She wasn’t a football fan and so his previous achievements counting for nothing, but she said he was passionate, relentless, exhausting, but also inspiring. 

As for his well brandished politics, one guest asked how that impacted UA92’s work and she revealed she had to keep strong political relationships across different parties, especially since Neville has been such a robust critic of the government.

The next FieldFisher event with is on November 16, at 8.30am with Michael Taylor in conversation with Marcell Edwards, talent acquisition manager of adidas.