Universia Foundation is committed to generating unique work experiences in inclusive work environments by bringing university talent with disabilities into contact with experienced employees in the learner’s field of interest. Let us share the story of Adela Mansanet and Eva Rodríguez, two Banco Santander employees who turned a mentoring programme into a key training initiative to improve employability.

Adela Mansanet
Adela Mansanet

Adela Mansanet is 24 years old and has an organic disability, namely diabetes. Years ago she reached out to the Fundación Universia and was awarded a scholarship for university students with disabilities. A few years later, she joined the Santander Start programme as an intern and continued her journey with the Universia Foundation as a mentee under the in-house mentoring initiative. This experience helped her to “discover different job interests that hadn’t occurred to her before.” Adela explains that the programme improved her job prospects. She now works in Internal Audit at the corporate centre of Banco Santander.

Adela earned her degree in mathematics, though programming had always been her first choice. She completed two bootcamps under a scholarship from the Universia Foundation, with the support of Banco Santander through Santander Universidades. The first bootcamp was an introduction to HTML and CSS and the second to Full Stack Development.

Eva Rodríguez, Vice-President of Consumer Financing Services SCF HQ, has been Adela’s mentor in this successful mentoring story. The programme builds a connection between the learner or mentee and his or her mentor, who is an employee with experience in the field the mentee is looking to learn. This relationship allows the learner to gain experience on the job. 

“The key to mentoring success is to identify points of connection between work and university life. It interested me because I like to keep up with things and see where I can make a contribution. There is no excuse for turning a blind eye. Spending time and energy helping to include others is very rewarding. You are giving them hope, an exciting new project to work towards and all the latest knowledge. Both of us are mathematicians and computer scientists.

Eva Rodríguez, Vice-President of Consumer Financing Services SCF HQ

With regard to the disability variable, she stated that right from the outset: “I understood that disability is out there and it cannot be ignored, but we can seek to understand it and view it as part of the diversity we all need to move forward as a Group and as a society.”

She has built a close bond with Adela and remarks that “she has certainly been quick to learn about our great group and all it stands for. She has learned never to take things for granted.” In relation to her experience on this programme, she remarks that in-house mentoring “means training and educating… it means setting challenges, getting invested and being confident, and for sure getting the other person ready by knowing how to guide them the right way.”

Eva concludes by saying “I hope I was useful and a good guide for Adela. What we worked on the most is the importance of values versus technical skills, which we always have to unlearn and then relearn.”

According to Adela, “It has improved my employability by opening my mind to other paths I would never have taken due to my choice of degree. However, they are related in some way and they certainly ended up catching my attention.” Her main takeaways from the programme were “Eva’s human values and her desire to help others. I also believe that you should never say no to new experiences and always see the best in others.”

If you would like to take part in the Universia Foundation’s In-House Mentoring programme, be sure to visit our website.

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