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Supporting students and graduates in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic: #StayHome and #InvestInYourself Santander Scholarships

Studies show that the pandemic has had a negative impact on young people’s job prospects. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the pandemic has exerted a „devastating and disproportionate” impact on employment. The latest data shows that young people face serious obstacles to continuing their personal development and education, changing jobs and entering the labour market. 1

In response to these challenges, Santander launched #StayHome and #InvestInYourself campaigns aimed at students and other people entering the labour market during the pandemic. As part of the campaign, nearly 3,000 people were supported by Santander Scholarships with an aim to develop and align the competences of those graduating from university with the expectations of the labour market.

Santander scholarships as an opportunity for development

Support was provided through intensive development courses offered online by prestigious universities in Poland and abroad, as well as financial support.

The competence development offer for the academic community was very broad and implemented, among others, through:

  • international development projects such as: Emerging Technologies Programs by MIT Professional Education (new technologies and digital transformation), ESADE Soft Skills Innovation and Personal Management (soft skills), Emerging Leaders – LSE (leadership competencies) and English for Professional Development with the University of Pennsylvania and British Council Online English Courses
  • nationwide projects – initiatives open to all students from Polish universities included the Santander Universidades Online Academy (lectures by members of the top management of Santander Bank Polska), organised in cooperation with the Cracow University of Economics, the Nationwide Academic Clubs Session, organised in cooperation with the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin, and the training course Renewable Energy Sources – Small Hydroelectric Power Plants, organised together with the „RÓJ” Foundation
  • local programmes for students of selected universities – in 2020 we offered local programmes, including financial scholarships and courses, to students from, among others, the University of Warsaw, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, the Witelon Higher Vocational School in Legnica, the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw, the University of Łódź, Wrocław University of Technology, the Medical University of Gdańsk, the Kozminski University and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

The topics for the programmes addressed to the academic community were selected in response to the needs arising from the pandemic and the changing labour market. In line with its Responsible Banking agenda and the mission of Santander Universidades, the Bank supports the higher education sector, the preparation of young people for the labour market and entrepreneurship. The platform, which constitutes a global scholarship ecosystem, provides the opportunity to offer scholarships and grants not only locally, but also internationally, as a result of collaboration between the Santander Group and foreign universities.

In 2020 alone, more than 10,000 students, graduates, PhD students and faculty staff from Poland registered on the Santander Universidades scholarship platform.

Through the Santander Universidades programme, Santander has allocated EUR 30 million to support education during the pandemic. The funds have been used to support research projects, students facing financial difficulties or digital transformation of universities. Although 2020 is now behind us, Santander Universidades continues to support young people and develops new scholarship programmes, for which registration is possible at Any updated information regarding the calls is also posted on the programme’s Facebook page: