Investing in youth for better job opportunities in Spain
One of the first loans for youth is materialising in Spain and setting the stage for similar schemes across Europe where young people are most in need. The EUR 200m loan is supporting students, newcomers in the jobs market and universities to improve skills and employment prospects.
Miriam Mauri Coiduras has just finished her course in Civil Engineering at the Politechnical College of the European University of Madrid. The only thing left for her to finish her degree is her final project, which she will carry out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “I am very interested in the Asian market; it is very advanced where civil engineering is concerned. You have to consider that Kuala Lumpur is a city that has been completely rebuilt in the past 30 years and there are plenty of opportunities there”, explains Miriam.
Backing fast and affordable student loansBut the road to Malaysia has been neither easy nor short. Miriam, originally from Barcelona, studied Public Works Engineering at the Politechnical University of Catalonia, although she was convinced that she would have more work and exchange possibilities in a private university. For this reason, as soon as she had finished her technical engineering course she took a year out to save and prepare for starting at the European University in Madrid – her study location of choice. “University costs EUR 12 000 per year and my family simply can’t afford that. With my work as a hostess and model I was able to save half of the fees, but I was still EUR 6 000 short and so decided to ask for a loan.”
She went to the Santander Bank branch at the European University. There they explained to her the financing options available to her. “The head of the campus bank branch told me that I could take out an EIBbacked loan for university students, which had better conditions than the others, and I didn’t hesitate. The whole process was wrapped up very quickly. In less than two weeks the money was in my account,” Miriam recalls. Although she has three years to repay the loan, Miriam is sure that she will not need that long. “Wherever there’s work, that’s where I’ll head.”
Helping the young get off to a good startOne in four Spaniards between the ages of 18 and 29 is not in education, training or employment, one of the highest rates in Europe. The economy may no longer be in recession, but jobs are still in desperately short supply for those leaving school and starting their working life.
A EUR 200m loan to Spain’s largest bank is set to help fight youth unemployment and tackle education investment needs. A first in Spain – funds under this operation are going to students in higher education, young people looking for their first job, young entrepreneurs and education facilities and research projects channelled through Santander. With its network of 4 200 branches on and off university campuses, it is well placed to roll out the new scheme.
In a bid to address the jobs crisis facing the EU’s 15-24 year olds, the EIB launched the “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth” programme in mid-2013. It committed EUR 9bn in 2013 alone to help create opportunities for young people across Europe.