Improving education is essential to confidently face a future full of uncertainties, due to the challenges posed by digitization and the global crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic. To achieve this, it is essential to bet on policies that promote equal opportunities for all citizens. Another key aspect is to provide quality training, and here the role of universities is essential. In the opinion of the president of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, the University should aspire to “generate excellence”, since “no individual, no institution, no country can prosper if it does not aspire to it, individual of course, but above all collective. It must be inclusive and contribute to the general interest and equity ”. Hence the importance of finding, among all the actors involved, a great common consensus that allows achieving a diverse, egalitarian, multidisciplinary and global education. All these wickers are necessary to educate the generations of tomorrow.
This statement is a clear example that education is a priority for Banco Santander, which has long been demanding a permanent commitment in the educational field, beyond ideologies. And it is that the lack of political will to achieve a great national pact that reforms, reinforces and catapults education is behind many of the problems that our educational system drags, whose proper functioning is fundamental for the progress of society and individuals that make it up.
In fact, Banco Santander’s commitment to higher education is rooted in the company’s own philosophy as part of its activity as a responsible bank. Through Santander Universities, it develops a pioneering and unique program in the world to promote the training of young people, promote university entrepreneurship, support research and improve employability. It does so through different initiatives and programs aimed at students and young professionals, especially from 18 to 32 years old, based on four basic pillars: equal opportunities, inclusion, social progress and sustainable growth.
Continuous training: the key to future challenges
Despite the fact that the programs are very different, they are all aligned with the current demands and needs of the labor market and an increasingly digitized and constantly evolving environment. Hence the importance of continuous training, essential to anticipate the future and be prepared for the challenges that come. Without forgetting the support for research and the transfer of university-company knowledge as an engine of progress and social impact.
And it is precisely these pillars on which the scholarship and aid programs offered by Santander are based and which are divided into three areas: education, entrepreneurship and employability. With more than 1,800 million euros allocated to academic initiatives since 2002 through Santander Universidades and more than 430,000 scholarships and university aid granted since 2005 –68,000 in 2019 alone–, was recognized as the company that invests the most in education in the world. In addition, it has agreements with 1,000 universities and institutions in 22 countries.
Banco Santander is the company that invests the most in education worldwide: more than 1,800 million euros through Santander Universities and more than 430,000 scholarships and university aid.
In the case of Spain, students with a good academic record and low economic resources can now apply for the Santander Progreso Scholarships, which provide aid of 1,000 euros to facilitate access to undergraduate or graduate education. On the other hand, the Santander Iberoamerican Undergraduate Scholarships, with an aid of 2,000 euros, facilitate international experiences in Ibero-America, and the Santander Erasmus Scholarships can reach 3,200 euros and are focused on the European internationalization of students.
Improving the employability and skills of both university students and young professionals to facilitate their access to the labor market is another of the entity’s great priorities, which offers programs in this regard such as Santander # InvestInTi, with more than 1,500 global scholarships to increase job competitiveness in languages, finance, digital skills o leadership skills; the 11,100 Santander Scholarships English Up British Council, aimed at Spanish university students who want to improve their language skills; or the Santander Scholarships for MIT Leading Digital Transformation, so that 2,500 students and recent graduates from 14 countries can access specialized training in digital transformation, among other actions.
And to promote university entrepreneurship, Banco Santander develops global and local initiatives under the umbrella of Santander X, a global platform that offers young people from all over the world access to different entrepreneurial initiatives promoted by universities in a digital, open and collaborative environment. In this context, key local programs such as Explorer, Youth with Solutions, in Spain.
In this line, and taking into account the health and socio-economic crisis triggered by the pandemic, this year the entity has launched Santander X Tomorrow Challenge, a global challenge for entrepreneurs from 10 countries created to collaborate in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic and its negative effects. In this call, more than 2,200 solutions were presented for areas such as the development of new professional skills, job creation, the adaptation of business models to the new situation and the identification of new market opportunities.
Banco Santander has always had a special sensitivity to the importance of supporting research teams as a driver of progress and competitiveness. In recent months, it has reinforced this commitment with specific initiatives aimed again at contributing to the fight against covid-19. This is the case of the creation of the Supera Covid Fund in collaboration with Crue Universidades Españolas (Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities) and CSIC, which has allocated 8.5 million euros to different projects to face the disease, its social impact and alleviate the digital gap.
The entity has allocated 100 million euros to contribute to the fight against covid-19.
In addition to the university context, Santander has also placed itself on the side of science in other areas, collaborating in recent months with different public and private institutions and research centers, through its Juntos Solidarity Fund, endowed with 54 million euros. There have been numerous projects and supported studies on vaccines, treatments and virus behavior. This Solidarity Fund is part of the 100 million euros mobilized by the entity to contribute in the fight against covid-19.
Also, Banco Santander and Crue have been promoting Universia for 20 years, a platform present in 20 countries that provides access to more than 19,000 offers of studies, scholarships, masters and first jobs. It is the largest university network in the world, whose main lines of action are academic orientation, employment and university digital transformation. In addition, the Universia Foundation works in favor of the social and labor integration of university students with disabilities.