(IMG/OCBC-Ngee Ann Polytechnic)

OCBC’s new industry program preps S’porean students for fintech jobs

As Singapore’s tech talent shortage amid growth in fintech jobs grows ever more prominent, OCBC Bank has partnered with local government institution of higher education, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), to develop a specialised training program for students. 

The Technology Young Talent Programme @ OCBC is a curated, year-long internship for final-year students of NP’s Diploma in Information Technology course, fusing IT with financial knowledge and training to serve the growing sector for fintech jobs. 

The co-designed course comes with opportunities for full-time employment with the bank post-graduation as the Bank seeks to improve its technological innovation. 

The program is double the time of a typical internship and aims to equip IT students with industry-relevant fintech skills and knowledge and work experience for direct preparation for the workplace post-graduation.

According to a statement, OCBC 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. 

Specialist training for fintech jobs

An estimated 2,500 to 3,500 technology-related jobs are expected to be created yearly over the medium term in the financial sector. As such, the Technology Young Talent Programme @ OCBC will accelerate the development of a next-generation tech workforce to meet this rising demand. 

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.” 

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. 

 OCBC bank will also provide dedicated career guidance in mapping out students’ career paths by matching them to mentors to help them develop their skills and grow their knowledge. 

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. 

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.”, he added. 

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.