Universia Foundation is committed to creating unique experiences in inclusive work environments by matching university students with disabilities with experienced employees in their 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 career-building initiative.

Adela Mansanet
Adela Mansanet

Adela Mansanet is 24 years old and has diabetes. Years ago she reached out to the Universia Foundation 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. Her experience helped her “discover different job interests that hadn’t occurred to her before.” She says the programme improved her job prospects. She now works in Internal Audit at the Corporate Centre of Banco Santander.

Adela earned her university degree in mathematics; however, she always preferred coding. She finished two bootcamps with a Universia scholarship , with the support of Banco Santander through Santander Universities: The first introduced her to HTML and CSS, and the second to Full Stack Development. 

Eva Rodríguez, Vice-President of Consumer Financing Services SCF HQ, was Adela’s mentor in this story of success. The programme helps create a bond between the student (or mentee) and their mentor, an expert with similar interests. Thus, students get a hands-on experience in the world of work. 

“The key to mentoring success is finding a way to bridge work and university life. It interested me because I like to keep up with things and see where I can make a contribution. There's no excuse for looking the other way. Spending time and energy to help include others is very rewarding. You're giving them hope, an exciting new project to work towards and all the latest know-how. We're both mathematicians and computer scientists.

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

On having a disability, she said that from the beginning: “I've understood that people with disabilities are part of our community and mustn't be ignored but rather understood and seen as part of the diversity we all need to move forward as a Group and as a society.”

She has a close bond with Adela, who she says “has certainly been quick to learn about our great group and all it stands for. She's learned never to take things for granted.” To Eva, in-house mentoring “means training and educating. It means setting challenges, getting invested and being confident and, for sure, getting the other person ready through proper guidance. I hope I was helpful and a good guide to 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 and opened my mind to other paths I would never have taken due to my choice of degree. However, they are related and 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, visit our website.

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