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How DBS is readying 10,000 staff in Singapore for Smart Nation skillsets



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DBS Bank yesterday announced that it is investing S$20m over five years in a broad-based programme to skill its 10,000 Singapore-based employees in digital banking and emerging technologies, enabling them to thrive in the digital economy and adapt to the future of work.

According to the report, the financial sector is an integral part of the country’s ambition to be a Smart Nation. The DBS programme supports the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s vision to create a Smart Financial Centre where technology is used pervasively in the financial industry “to increase efficiency, create opportunities, better manage risks, and improve lives.”

Encouraging large-scale participation and digital adoption by all bank employees, and comprises several aspects, the DBS programme features:

  • Artificial intelligence-powered e-learning 
  • Experiential learning
  • Grants and scholarships
  • Innovative learning spaces

Lee Yan Hong, group head of human resources, DBS Bank said: “As the financial sector evolves, the profile of jobs will change and we are committed to helping our people adapt and embrace digital transformation through innovative and immersive continuous learning programmes.”

“An agile and innovative workforce will also make Singapore’s Smart Nation ambition a reality and along with this, we are making significant investments to groom a generation of digital bankers, strengthening Singapore’s talent pool,” she added.

ALSO READ: Two in three believe technology will improve their job prospects

Artificial intelligence-powered e-learning
DBS has launched a new cloud-based learning management system called DBS Horizon. Powered by Saba, a cloud-based learning management solution, the system uses artificial intelligence to make personalised course recommendations; in addition to helping employees collaborate, create communities of interest, and engage in mobile education anytime, anywhere across the bank.

A new digital curriculum was specially designed and curated to help employees learn about digital disruption and transformation. Conducted through blended learning solutions, a combination of bite-sized e-learning modules and classroom sessions, topics include understanding the digital business model, adopting agile methodologies, journey thinking and how to use technology as business enablers.

Experiential learning
DBS employees also given the opportunity to go on paid sabbaticals to work on prototypes and start their own businesses. The bank also runs accelerator programmes which offer mentorship and funding to help these intrapreneurs grow their concepts into prototypes.

By giving employees the opportunity to try their hands on building a business from scratch, DBS staff are able to think like digital natives. In fact, more than 2,000 DBS staff have participated in human-centred design workshops and hackathons, and conducted more than 1,000 experiments since 2015.

ALSO READ: DBS UNI.CORN internship returns to attract 1,000 applicants

Grants and scholarships
To support the government’s SkillsFuture initiative, the DBS SkillsFlex programme was launched in 2016 to offer staff (up to senior associate level) an additional $500 in DBS SkillsFlex credits to learn new skills in line with their aspirations, interests or passions.

Staff can apply the credits to customised courses offered by DBS, or choose from over 16,000 courses in the government’s SkillsFuture Credit Course Directory. This year, more than 1,300 DBS employees used their DBS SkillsFlex Credit to upskill themselves.

Innovative learning spaces
DBS has also invested in innovative learning spaces for its employees including the DBS Academy and DBS Asia X, its latest innovation hub. Spanning 40,000 square feet, over 10,000 training sessions are conducted at the DBS Academy each year and employees have access to a wide selection of courses, such as scenario-based leadership development programmes and digital master classes.

DBS Asia X is a purpose built innovation facility for DBS employees to come together and develop customer journeys and work in close collaboration with start-ups and the broader fintech community.

Photo / 123RF

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