Santander thanked for supporting students and businesses

An event has been held at Keele University to celebrate the impact of the Santander Universities programme in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

The initiative, which is marking its tenth year operating in the UK, provides support to students, graduates and businesses across a range of areas such as internships, entrepreneurship and enterprise.

The event also celebrated five years of internships at Keele University and outlined the opportunities available to local businesses through the Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP)*.

Attended by business leaders and students who have benefited from Santander’s support, the event featured a keynote speech from Jonty Bloom, the BBC’s Business Correspondent and Keele University graduate.

Drawing on his 30 years’ experience and in-depth knowledge of economics, business and the EU, Jonty spoke about the importance of the relationship between businesses and higher education institutions in ensuring that the UK remains globally competitive and productive.

The event was also attended by fellow Keele alumnus and recent winner of BBC One’s The Apprentice, James White, who later spoke about his time at Keele, his experiences to date and plans for the future.

During the event, a number of businesses and interns expressed their gratitude for the Santander Universities programme:

  • “I can’t recommend the programme highly enough to other small business owners who are looking for well educated, emerging talent and support.” – Sophie Walton, Owner of 3Twelve.
  • “My internship was extremely beneficial and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to acquire such invaluable experience.  I have learnt many practical skills which complement my studies and I now feel ready for the world of work.” – Rosie Crowther, Marketing and Psychology student.
  • “I have recruited two graduate interns from the Keele-Santander internship scheme, and this has given us the opportunity to bring in fresh, energetic talent to the team.” – Darren Bland, Director at CQA International.
  • “The opportunity to do internships through Santander and Keele University is something that I think every student should get involved with.  It has given me invaluable work experience and the opportunity to explore my career interests.” – Holly Smith, Psychology graduate.
  • “Placements are about the person, and the quality from Keele is very high.  It’s something we’d do again, as both the company and the student gain from it.” – Steve Feeney, Director at Essential Marketer.

ERDF portrait logo To find out more about the Santander Universities UK programme, please visit  For more information about internships and other support opportunities available to businesses, please visit

‌*The Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (Ref: 32R16P00711) is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.