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Santander Atrium Dialogue: Education and formation 2025, challenges for the German and European societies

Santander Atrium Dialogue: Education and formation 2025
  • For the third time, Santander Consumer Germany organized the annual Santander Atrium Dialogue. Representatives from politics, business and academia discussed the challenges of education and employability. They discussed too how to address the existing demands of potential employers.

Mönchengladbach, 7th June 2016. After the successful first two editions (Economic Growth in Germany and in Europe and Digital Transformation) this year’s Atrium Dialogue was titled Education and formation 2025 – Challenges for the German and European Societies. Santander Consumer Germany organized the event with German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV).

Representatives from politics, business and academia discussed the challenges of education and employability. They discussed also how to address the existing demands of potential employers. The event took place at Santander’s new building at Nord Park close to Santander’s German headquarters in Mönchengladbach.

The participants coincided on the need to increase practical training as part of the study career plan. They focused on the importance of recognizing the German dual work-study system (Duales System) and the aim to establish permeability in the education and training system.

Ulrich Leuschner, Head of Santander Consumer Bank Germany, opened the Atrium Dialogue by highlighting the role of universities: “We strongly believe in the role of the university as a creator of knowledge, as an incubator of talents and as the driver for economic and social progress". That is why the Banco Santander has the aim of investing extensively more than 700€m in Higher Education until 2018 through Santander Universities corporate area (www.santander.com/universities). Santander is the largest investor in education in the world (Varkey/UNESCO report – Fortune 500), and maintains 1,200 collaboration agreements in place with universities and institutions worldwide.

In Germany the commitment with Higher Education has intensely increased over the last years. Santander has agreements with 11 German universities, one agreement with the DHV and supports more than 100 scholarships. Sarah Schmidt, a student at the Hochschule Niederrhein and one of the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship´s beneficiaries supported by Santander, talked about her positive experiences with the Stipendiatentag, an annual event organized by Santander Universities, at which all scholarship holders meet.

“Scholarships allow students to reflect on their studies and think about volunteering or to complete an internship", said Till Steinmaier, Co-Founder & CEO of the start-up Deutsche Technikberatung. However, he also criticized the lack of practical knowledge of students.

"At universities practical components are often missing. Short internships are not sufficient", stressed Oliver Burda, Deputy Head of Santander Consumer Bank. “Similar to the dual studies, this should significantly be extended. And in addition, training and studies need to be better integrated”.

Practical courses
Rolf Königs, President of the Association of Rhenish Textile and Clothing Industry, Chairman & CEO of AUNDE Group and President of the Football Club Borussia Mönchengladbach, also emphasized the need for more practical courses. He presented his plans for a brand new textile academy to develop in cooperation with Hochschule Niederrhein: "In this private vocational school we offer training and further education. It is our aim to bring apprentices and students together with vocational teachers and professors to strengthen the textile state North Rhine-Westphalia with well-educated people”.

"Our dual system has helped Germany to have a strong economy", confirmed Günter Krings, member of the German Parliament and Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of the Interior. “However, the permeability between education and university must still be further optimized”.

“Online education should be meaningfully linked to ‘classical’ universities”, said Sophie Marquitan, Head of Business Development of Kiron Open Higher Education, an online university, founded in 2014. This new concept of open online studies reduces existing formal barriers for newcomers and offers massive open courses in higher education. "After successful participation in online courses for two years, students have the possibility to change to one of our partner universities and complete an undergraduate degree", explained Marquitan the innovative concept.

The 2016 Santander Atrium Dialogue counted with the attendance of around 120 guests. 

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Santander Atrium Dialogue: Education and formation 2025

Group photo of the participants.

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