Dean Jones' Journey from MK:U to HostRooster: A Story of Innovation, Diversity, and Education

Dean Jones' Journey from MK:U to HostRooster: A Story of Innovation, Diversity, and Education
Dean Jones, the founder of HostRooster, embarked on an incredible journey during his tenure as the Director of Strategic Projects at Cranfield University between 2017 and 2019. One of the remarkable projects he worked on during that time was MK:U, a visionary initiative to establish a new university in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, often referred to as the "MIT of the United Kingdom." This project held significant importance and left an indelible mark on Dean's career.

When Dean joined Cranfield, MK:U was in its infancy, still in the initial stages of discussing business cases and formulating project plans. It started as a close-knit team but quickly grew to become one of the fastest-growing projects at Cranfield. The project was imbued with excitement, thanks in no small part to the infectious energy of Professor Lynette Ryals, whose enthusiasm fueled the entire team.

Dean assumed a strategic oversight role during the initiation phases, orchestrating the meticulous selection of key consultants and experts, and driving the project's critical beginnings.

MK:U, the brainchild of this remarkable journey, aims to revolutionize university education by challenging conventional norms. The university's aspiration is to become the UK's equivalent of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, renowned both nationally and internationally for the quality of its tech education.

MK:U's curriculum is laser-focused on the digital economy, STEM subjects, and bridging the digital skills gap. Collaborating closely with businesses, the university designs courses that deliver the precise skills sought after by employers. In line with the innovative spirit of Milton Keynes, MK:U is working to create a model where students graduate without the burden of student debt. Additionally, the university is shifting away from traditional exams, concentrating on digital apprenticeships that align with the evolving needs of industries.

The support for MK:U's vision extends beyond academia, with banking giant Santander committing £1 million of its apprenticeship levy to support local businesses interested in providing digital apprenticeships to their staff.

MK:U has already launched several digital apprenticeships, including one in cybersecurity. Its premises at Bouverie House in Central Milton Keynes are buzzing with activity, with approximately 250 employers already engaged with MK:U students. The university is on a mission to welcome full-time undergraduate students within the next three years while focusing on outreach programs to inspire the next generation of talent in Milton Keynes.

Dean Jones and HostRooster stand as staunch advocates of technological advancement and its profound potential for catalyzing positive societal transformation. Dean's unwavering support for visionary initiatives like MK:U, coupled with his entrepreneurial spirit, has birthed yet another remarkable creation. As a pioneering startup, HostRooster remains steadfast in its dedication to fostering innovation, championing diversity, and upholding the highest standards of excellence. These core principles, imbibed and honed throughout Dean's illustrious journey across the public and private sectors, as well as the education sector, continue to drive HostRooster's mission and vision forward.

MK:U stands as a testament to the power of visionary thinking, innovation, and collaboration. Its aspiration to become the UK's equivalent of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) symbolizes a commitment to excellence in education and technology. This bold endeavor not only reshapes the future but also serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring us all to embrace innovation and work together to build a brighter tomorrow.

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