05/25/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/25/2021 10:55
In her remarks, she called on universities 'to build the competitive, inclusive and sustainable country we all want' and entreated governments, state agencies, international organizations, universities and the private sector to work together to 'transform our society through learning'. Botín believes universities are duty-bound to rise to businesses' challenges and needs, and that 'every industry, company and person, from students to those in their 50s, needs to refreshen'. 'What we do today will shape the future of our country and the next generations', she added. Bridging the digital gap and allocating resources to aid the most vulnerable groups are musts for Botín, who said 'Universities have to help speed up the digitalization of the economy'.
'We've plunged into the fourth digital revolution', said Botín, who believes that crises have led to watersheds in society throughout history. 'We, as businesses, government agencies and social actors, have all had to adapt our processes, our way of interacting with those we serve and our employees' skills through new upskilling and reskilling programmes, in order to cope with the new job market'. Such programmes include the new Santander Tech Digital Reskilling Ironhack and Santander Tech Reskilling in Data Analytics Ubiqum Code Academy. Banco Santander invests EUR 100 million every year in upskilling and reskilling to bolster its employees' technical capabilities, with an average 40 hours' training.
Botín also pointed out the bank's entrepreneurial initiatives such as the Santander X Global Challenge and the Santander X Global Award to put the limelight on the best solutions and biggest challenges of our time. They provide entrepreneurs with international training that gives them the tools to scale their innovations; access expert mentoring; gain visibility; and have the chance to pitch their ideas to our innovation teams, in the hope that, together, we can build a 'future full of opportunities for young people'.
To get there, the Santander and Universia executive chairman called on universities to strike while the iron is hot to meet their challenges and ramp up their digitalization. 'EU funds are vital to the big leap in their transformation', she added.
Botín believes five principles shape the universities we need in a world of constant disruption. First, 'there is no better tool than education to combat inequality and move towards a new, open, inclusive and sustainable production model based on talent and knowledge'. Second, universities and companies must prioritize employability to eradicate the mismatch between acquired skills and new ones that employers demand.
Botín also called for non-stop training and skills development for workers, as well as 'coordinated scientific investigation by organizations that strive to build knowledge'. Lastly, she outlined the importance of lending to guarantee everyone has access to quality education. 'Education is the best possible investment', she remarked.
Botín highlighted Universia's significant work since its founding 21 years ago and shared some of the challenges that lie ahead in 2021. For instance, the Universia Jobs employment and internships platform has helped over 400,000 graduates with their job search. She also announced that the three-year target to grant 200,000 scholarships announced at Universia's last International Rectors' Meeting in Salamanca in May 2018 will have been greatly surpassed: 'By the end of this cycle, we'll have granted over 325,000 scholarships, which is at least 125,000 more than our initial target'.