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S&E Guarantee Pilot: Jose Luis Cuenca


“I love learning. What I don’t like so much is the studying part. It’s like football I guess: you love playing in the games but don’t enjoy training so much,” says Jose Luis Cuenca, from San Martin de Valdeiglesias, just outside Madrid.

For most of the past year, Jose Luis has been juggling a full-time job, pursuing a university degree and attending a bootcamp all at the same time. “I get up really early, at 4 or 5am. That gives me a few hours to study before the working day begins,” he explains. “But to be honest, I don’t really feel that the days are that long because I really enjoy what I’m doing.”

Jose Luis works for an IT consultancy on a project developing software for a banking institution. But in a way, he is new to IT. “This is the first job that I’ve really chosen myself. I used to work in gardening. When that dried up, I turned to plumbing, but then the construction boom ended, and I worked at a call-centre. I guess I always went where the market took me, not where I actively wanted to go.”

That changed recently when Jose Luis decided to quit his job at the call centre. “I was really getting tired of taking calls from angry customers all day every day,” he says. Instead, he decided to pursue a university degree in computer engineering at UNED, a Spanish distant learning university. Now in the 4th year of his studies, Jose Luis felt the pressure to get a job and a steady income in parallel. That’s when he turned to bootcamp to boost his employability and signed up for a 9-month remote course on big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning at the Keepcoding Tech School. Within a couple of months of joining the course, he got an internship placement which has since turned into a permanent position.

To finance the bootcamp, Jose Luis turned to Unversia Foundation (Santander Group), with whom he entered into an income sharing agreement, backed by the EU through the EIF. “They paid for my tuition and I repay them only once I have a salary above a certain threshold. It wouldn’t have been possible without this sort of support,” he says. “At the beginning the courses ran from 8h30 at night until after midnight,” Jose Luis says. “I don’t have much time for other things, especially social life, but I think the results are good. I was very unhappy at my previous job and now I love what I’m doing. I’ve got a couple of months left of bootcamp and should be finishing the degree by September, at which point life will be a bit more…normal again!”

But what will Jose Luis want to do with all this extra time on his hands? “Well, I’ve looked at some other bootcamps like full-stack web development and also other degrees like IT engineering…” He did say he loves learning…

Location: San Martin de Valdeiglesias, Madrid, Spain

Financial Intermediary: Universia Foundation (Santander Group)

Beneficiary: Jose Luis Cuenca

Studies: big data, artificial intelligence & machine learning

Institution: Keepcoding Tech School

EIF financing: Skills & Education Guarantee Pilot

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Spain, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/es


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