OCBC Bank and Ngee Ann Polytechnic co-design tech internship to tackle talent shortage in the financial sector
To tackle the technology talent shortage, which has become more acute given digitalisation’s role as a core enabler of business, OCBC Bank and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) have co-designed and launched the Technology Young Talent Programme @ OCBC. This curated internship spans the third and final year of the Polytechnic’s Diploma in Information Technology course and could lead to full-time employment for participating students as the Bank seeks to boost its technology bench strength.
The Programme is in line with NP’s focus on bringing industry into its curriculum. Its 12-month duration – double that of a typical 6-month internship undertaken by final-year polytechnic students – gives students ample time to deepen their understanding of the financial sector, develop industry-current tech skills, and amass real-world work experience early, all of which will ready them for the workplace upon graduation.
OCBC Bank and NP will collaborate to curate each student’s internship plan according to their area of study, which could include Data Visualisation, Machine Learning, Cloud Technologies or Mobile App Development. The student’s final-year core curriculum will be incorporated into internship projects and day-to-day work, which ensures that each student’s learning objectives are met. Grades will be jointly determined by both institutions as part of this industry-in-curriculum pathway.
With an estimated 2,500 to 3,500 technology-related jobs expected to be created yearly over the medium term in the financial sector, the Technology Young Talent Programme @ OCBC will accelerate the development of a next-generation tech workforce to meet this rising demand. To do so, the Programme will give students hands-on experience with Web 3.0 technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, and they will gain exposure to banking fields like wealth management, trade finance or cash management. Students will also deepen their understanding of regulatory and banking security requirements.
The Bank is also committed to providing dedicated career guidance in mapping out students’ career paths by matching them to mentors to help them develop their skills and grow their knowledge.
For a start, 20 students will begin their internships with the Bank’s Operations and Technology division in March 2022, when the third and final year of their course commences. Most of these students will be selected from a currently ongoing hackathon organised by NP in close partnership with the Bank. Incorporated into the core curriculum of Year 2 students in the Information Technology course, the hackathon features problem statements from the Bank, as well as its tech experts on the judging panel, giving students early exposure to industry challenges and insights to potential solutions.
The Programme complements OCBC Bank’s existing line-up of technology talent initiatives including the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), Technology in Finance Programme (TFIP), and the OCBC Graduate Talent Programme. These are all part of the bank’s digital transformation strategy which will also see the bank ramp up its investments in technology, beef up its workforce capabilities and create more agile and collaborative processes.
Mr Praveen Raina, Head of Group Operations and Technology, OCBC Bank; Mr Jason Ho, Head of Group Human Resources, OCBC Bank; Mr Lim Kok Kiang, Principal & CEO, Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Mr Patrice Choong, Director, School of InfoComm Technology, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Mr Praveen Raina, Head of Group Operations and Technology, OCBC Bank, said, “As more companies accelerate their digital transformation efforts, the tech talent crunch has become a significant challenge. We deeply value the partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic on this very meaningful programme which will contribute significantly towards tackling this issue. Every internship under the programme is customised according to a student’s strengths and area of study – which is time consuming to do – but we feel that this is worthwhile in order to develop the right tech talent. We look forward to welcoming our first batch of interns next year and hope to subsequently grow the pool of students under the programme.”
Mr Lim Kok Kiang, Principal & CEO, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said, “At Ngee Ann Polytechnic, we are intentional in keeping industry at the core of our curriculum. We do this by bringing industry into our campus, as well as taking our classroom to the industry. This is critical for the rapidly-evolving technology sector, where the fastest way to pick up the latest skills is for learners to be immersed in industry. With this industry-in-curriculum pathway that we are pioneering with OCBC, students will have an earlier start and a longer runway to deepen their core skills and explore the latest web technologies in real-world settings. Essentially, they will be on the fast track to seize career opportunities in the dynamic technology field.”
Quotes from NP students who have applied for the Technology Young Talent Programme @ OCBC
“Having the chance to work on a real-world business challenge regarding how to ensure fail-safe fund transfers was eye-opening, and my team’s proposal includes introducing a foreign currency converter feature to make international transactions more convenient. Being new to developing banking applications, our OCBC mentor’s advice helped us better understand customer pain points and user needs. The experience grew my interest in fintech and I aspire to co-develop more banking solutions with the team at OCBC.”
Alan Antony James
Diploma in Information Technology, Year 2
“For students who have specific interest areas like me, the Technology Young Talent Programme offered by OCBC is especially attractive. It is a platform for me to gain access to guidance and experiences that will help me deepen my expertise in web application and mobile application development at an accelerated pace. I also look forward to working on real-world tech projects and developing personal networks that will stand me in good stead for a career at OCBC.”
Diploma in Information Technology, Year 2