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OCBC Bank co-designs programme to groom 200 data scientists and analysts

OCBC Bank, in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, has created a Data Certification Pathway as part of a structured approach to groom more data scientists and analysts.

The bank's employees can sign up for the courses at its learning and development unit, OCBC Campus. OCBC Bank aims to train 200 more data scientists and analysts over the next three years through the pathway, doubling the number of data scientists and analysts it has now.

With the growing importance of data analytics across many industries, the programme will also be made available to all Singaporeans under the MySkillsFuture portal from the fourth quarter of this year.

Jason Ho, the bank's Head of Group Human Resources, said: "This initiative underscores OCBC Bank's philosophy of leaving no one behind in this changing landscape of work. We believe strongly in our employees' innate ability to grow and adapt and we offer the right courses to equip them for the future."

More than that, as the world becomes increasingly connected, he believes: "it is crucial that we continue to work in synergy with the wider ecosystem. With this partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the structured learning pathway we have designed together will groom future data scientists and analysts within our Smart Nation so that Singapore remains future-ready."

Data analytics is one of the key pillars that OCBC Bank is focusing on developing among its employees. The bank's pool of data scientists and analysts has doubled in the last three years to 200 now.

Data Certification Pathway: A progressive set of 12 modules

The Data Certification Pathway consists of a progressive set of 12 modules conducted by lecturers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology and other industry practitioners.

It adopts a multi-modal learning approach - combining online and classroom learning, project work, assignments and assessments - to ensure an effective transition from theory to actual application at the workplace.

The course structure and content was formulated to focus on practical skills needed for data roles based on consultation with industry practitioners, including OCBC Bank's Head of Group Customer Analytics and Decisioning (GCAD), Donald Macdonald.

The first four modules are foundation courses such as using Python for programming, data essentials and data storytelling. Thereafter, a trainee can specialise in either the data scientist track or data analyst track, each comprising four more courses in topics such as data visualisation, machine learning, and deep learning.

Learners who pass an assessment on their knowledge and skills will be exempted from the foundation courses and can begin the specialisation modules immediately. Those who do not wish to go through the entire pathway but are keen to acquire a stronger data proficiency can also just apply for the individual data modules.

At the end of each module, learners will be assessed by a global panel of industry practitioners. After completing either track, which is estimated to take between two to three years, they will receive an official certification from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

OCBC's Future Smart Learning Festival

The programme was unveiled during OCBC Bank's two-day Future Smart Learning Festival on 8-9 July themed Future Smart, Future Workforce. Held at the OCBC Campus, the event is expected to be attended by more than 2,000 employees across the OCBC Group.

At the launch of this year's learning festival, Group CEO Samuel Tsien interacted with Nadine, the humanoid social robot. He said: "My interaction with Nadine shows that we are moving into a hybrid workforce. In addition to what we used to know and what we have learnt, we will also be supplemented with what a robot has learn through programming, automation, AI and machine learning."

He noted that at the bank, tasks are divided into brainwork and taskwork, adding that as long as the taskwork is based on analytics, it can be programmed into the robot.

"We as human, will always be dominating in terms of the brainwork. If we can combine the brainwork into the taskwork, then we will be able to excel even faster into the future world," Tsien said.

He urged all employees to have a mindset change and take charge of their own development, adding that it is the organisation’' responsibility to ensure that a facilitative environment is created for people to learn.

Tsien shared that the Bank is focusing on four pillars this year – Technology and Data, New Risks, Digital Business Models and Ecosystems and The Way We Work.

Activities throughout the two-day event included panel discussions and talks around the future of work by senior leaders in the Bank and industry experts. There were also more than 20 booths showcasing innovation at work by both OCBC employees and external parties such as ST Engineering and Microsoft. OCBC Bank employees also shared about their reskilling journey with the Bank.

Other highlights included a presentation by Dr. Jaclyn Lee, Chief Human Resources Officer of Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), on future tech 2050 and the five key skills everyone needs, which was attended by Human Resources.

The collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and learning festival are part of OCBC Bank's Future Smart Programme, S$20 million three-year initiative launched last year to develop the digital skills of all its 29,000 employees across the Group.

Photo / OCBC Bank Image caption: (left to right): Clarence Ti, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Jason Ho, Head of Group Human Resources, OCBC Bank launched the Data Certification Pathway during the Future Smart Learning Festival at OCBC Campus. Dr. Michael Fung, Deputy Chief Executive (Industry), Chief Human Resource Officer & Chief Data Officer, SkillsFuture Singapore was also present to witness the launch.

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