Lisbon, 27 July 2020. PRESS RELEASE
Santander Portugal and Santander Universities are, together, a founding partner of 42 Lisboa, a world-renowned, revolutionary education project in Portugal that is completely free of charge for students.

Santander Portugal’s support for that new, inclusive programming school is part of its strategy of sizeable investments in education and innovation, which have helped transform and reskill its technology area faster.

Santander signed the agreement today at the 42 Lisboa campus, the site of an old print factory in Penha de França, with Santander Portugal CEO Pedro Castro e Almeida. The founders of the new school, which is funded by private sponsors, include Santander Portugal, Vanguard Properties and Chinese-American businesswoman Ming Hsu.

Directed by Professor Pedro Santa Clara, the first 42 programming school was founded in Paris in 2013. 42 has since been running in 20 cities worldwide, and expects to open another ten by the end of this year.

Recognized as the number one coding school in the US, 42 is not your traditional school. It offers unique, inclusive education in Portugal that responds to the demand for trained programming professionals. Though 42 graduates do not receive a university, master's or any other academic degree, they are guaranteed employability, as coding talent is scarce in Portugal, with the European Commission estimating as much as 15,000 IT job openings in Portugal in 2020 alone.

The school, which aims to promote inclusivity, does not require applicants to have a prior academic background and follows an innovative learning system of no traditional classrooms, no timetables, and 24/7 access, to promote project-based, peer-to-peer learning. 

The only prerequisite? Applicants must be at least 17 (so as to make sure they complete mandatory schooling). The school is an opportunity for many young people who do not fit into the ordinary education system or can’t afford to continue their education.

The application period starts today on and includes two online tests to assess applicants' logical reasoning and ability to work under pressure, without any prior knowledge of programming required. The first test, which takes ten minutes, is followed by a two-hour test with no breaks. Applicants moving on to the next stage are announced within 48 hours. Online tests are available every day of the year, and applications can be submitted at any time.

Students who have passed those tests and completed enrolment have five years to complete the 21 programming modules. On average, students finish the programme within three and a half years, moving from one level to the next by completing individual or group projects that are evaluated by their peers.

All students must set aside time each week to assess their peers’ work, which promotes a sense of community, responsibility toward others and peer learning. Because the school is open 24/7, students can (and must) set their own hours and study plan.

42 graduates are quickly recruited by a variety of Fortune 100 companies, start-ups, etc.; many also decide to go into business for themselves. The Silicon Valley companies most graduates have gone on to work for include LinkedIn, Uber, XBrain, Facebook, Scality, Samsung, Microsoft and Sigma. The covid-19 pandemic has only accentuated the demand for a more digital, technological output, and many companies across different industries have had to reinvent themselves to anticipate market needs.

Santander’s commitment to education
Through Santander Universities, Santander Portugal promotes best practices in response to the challenges of society. The bank is already a leading promoter of higher education in Portugal, having partnered with 50 higher education institutions. To reassert itself as the bank of universities, Santander commits more than €7 million to Corporate Social Responsibility every year.

Banco Santander is firmly committed to progress and to inclusive and sustainable growth. Its total investment in higher education sets it apart from other financial institutions worldwide. Though Santander Universities, it has committed more than €1.88 billion to academic initiatives since 2002 and awarded upwards of 430,000 university scholarships and grants since 2005. It has been named the company that invests the most in education worldwide (Varkey / UNESCO / Fortune 500 Report) with 1,000 agreements with universities and institutions across 22 countries.