“We wanted to impact as many young people as possible and give them the opportunity and the tools they need to be prepared for working life.”
In 2019, University Academy 92 opened on the site of the former Kellogg’s HQ in Old Trafford.
Co-founded by Gary with his Class of 92 teammates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, and with qualifications awarded by the University of Lancaster, UA92 is a huge achievement for all involved and has garnered support from partners including Microsoft and KPMG.
Not only does it provide undergraduate degrees in sports science, media and communication, business studies and accounting, but it prepares students for the rigours of professional life, with modular courses on digital literacy, financial competence and coping strategies for mental health.
“It’s not all about passing an exam, but the offering tools so students can function effectively in the world once they’ve left education,” says Gary.
“UA92 had to be about more than getting a certificate. I thought back to my time at United a lot on this one. The resilience that we had instilled in us by Sir Alex, Nobby Stiles, Eric Harrison. There were lads with so much talent at the club but they never bought into what those people were trying to achieve. They didn’t want the sacrifice, the commitment it needed to get to the top. Those of us that did, those of us that embraced it, talent became almost secondary. It became about character. How far you were willing to run. How hard you were willing to work. That always stuck with me.”
Eventually, the university will offer places for 6,500 students.