OCBC sets aside SG$20 million to launch digital skills programme

OCBC has launched a SG$20 million digital transformation programme called the Future Smart Programme. The programme will be available to its 29,000 employees. The aim to develop its employees’ digital skills.

The OCBC Future Smart Programme will first be rolled out to employees of OCBC Bank in Singapore, Malaysia, China and its overseas branches. It will also be available to its subsidiary Bank of Singapore, before being extended to other subsidiaries, Great Eastern Holdings and Lion Global Investors. According to the company, the comprehensive programme "will make it possible for a cheque processing executive to become a data scientist in three years."

OCBC Bank has identified seven digital domains that are critical to attain digital competency in a well-rounded manner. The seven pillar curriculum comprises a suite of 6,000 online programmes as well as speaker sessions, workshops and classroom learning, bringing the total number of learning programmes in the bank to 10,000 over 50 categories.

By the end of the programme’s first year, all employees are expected to attain the Awareness level across the seven Future Smart pillars. This will be measured using a digital online assessment. Employees can choose to deepen their knowledge in one or more of the seven digital domains by participating in the courses available in the next level of qualification standards.

Another unique feature of the OCBC Future Smart programme is the use of the ‘gig’ approach. It is a ‘gig’ approach because employees can take up consulting ‘gigs’ with teams that are running digital projects on a freelance basis. External gig professionals will also be engaged to be part of the ‘gig’ approach by conducting courses in their areas of expertise at the OCBC Campus. For a start, the bank is bringing in industry experts in human-centred design and agile methodology to impart skills on design thinking to employees.

Jason Ho, head of group human resources, OCBC Bank, said, “The speed at which technology is changing can make us vulnerable. Jobs that are here today may be gone tomorrow. Businesses must therefore take steps to ensure that employees have the digital competencies needed to thrive. And it is more than just skills building. New technologies will continue to emerge so it is critical that we create a strong learning culture that encourages a mindset receptive to learning, unlearning and relearning.”