Learning & Development Asia 2024
OCBC launches accelerated banking career programme to double its annual intake of polytechnic graduates in Singapore

OCBC launches accelerated banking career programme to double its annual intake of polytechnic graduates in Singapore

The programme, designed in partnership with all five polytechnics, aims to contribute to the nation’s goal of boosting the number of polytechnic graduates with full-time jobs in the financial sector.

OCBC has launched OCBC Ignite, an accelerated banking career programme that will involve about 500 polytechnic students over the next three years, in an event attended by HRO on 12 June 2024 (Wednesday).

The programme, an enhanced version of the current 12-month tech internship with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic students, has been completed by over 70 students to date.

According to a survey jointly conducted by the polytechnics in 2021, only 3% of graduates joined the financial sector in full-time permanent roles upon graduation. 

The enhanced OCBC Ignite programme, developed with all five Singapore polytechnics, aims to double the Bank’s annual intake of polytechnic graduates and support the nation's goal of increasing full-time jobs for polytechnic graduates in the financial sector.

Lee Hwee Boon, Head of Group Human Resources, OCBC, commented: "Polytechnic graduates are a compelling talent pool that we want to bring onboard. They bring industry-relevant skills to the role, are good problem-solvers and operate well in an inter-disciplinary environment. 

"We are excited that the introduction of the OCBC Ignite programme will empower polytechnic graduates with an alternative pathway to gain valuable real-world industry experience and practical skills that can give them head start in their careers."

In response to a query by HRO, on what she wishes polytechnic students would take away from the event, Lee said it would be that they embrace education of a different kind and be perceptive to a more compatible way of retaining knowledge. 

She also noted how through working with industry experts in cross-functional departments, students will be able be exposed and credited for their learning and accomplishments and be recognised for being able to stay on-par with degree holders. 

Here is a breakdown of the enhancements of the accelerated banking career programme: 

One pathway then; two pathways now 

Previously, under OCBC Ignite, polytechnic students only had one pathway to progress their career - Tech. With the enhanced programme, there are two pathways that polytechnic students can choose from – Tech or business. and they will undergo an internship with OCBC during the final year of their diploma programme to equip them with industry-relevant skillsets to be job-ready, regardless of the pathway they chose.

Addition of a six or twelve-month apprenticeship

In the 2021 version of the OCBC Ignite programme, students joining the programme were only taking part in a six-month internship with the organisation. The new OCBC Ignite builds on OCBC’s current 12-month tech internship programme, where upon graduation, and if selected, they will join OCBC on a full-time basis to receive further training and mentoring through an apprenticeship in functions such as consumer banking, wholesale banking as well as technology and operations. 

At the end of the apprenticeship, participants will be fast-tracked to the rank of Assistant Manager to take on university graduate-equivalent roles.

The duration of the internship and apprenticeship will defer depending on the pathway as seen below:

Principals from the five polytechnics have shared their views: 

Russell Chan Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Nanyang Polytechnic [pictured above, third from the left]

“This partnership cements the close ties we have with OCBC. We are glad that our graduates – who are equipped with in-demand skills – are appreciated by industry partners and are given a direct path to management.

"I am confident that the management trainees with OCBC Ignite will enjoy a rewarding career in the banking sector.”

Lim Kok Kiang Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Ngee Ann Polytechnic [pictured above, second from the left]

"Ngee Ann Polytechnic is privileged to have pioneered the 12-month tech internship programme with OCBC in 2021.

"Building on the success of initial programme, the launch of the new accelerated career pathway will create more opportunities for our students to pursue professional development and get a head start in their careers.”

Jeanne Liew Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Republic Polytechnic [pictured above, third from the right] 

"Through this collaboration, we are confident that our graduates will become effective contributors in meeting the sector’s evolving needs.”

Georgina Phua Deputy Principal (Development), Singapore Polytechnic [pictured above, second from the right]

“The OCBC Ignite Programme collaboration not only strengthens our partnership with OCBC, but also creates new opportunities for academic and professional growth. This collaboration exemplifies the immense potential when education and industry converge, breaking barriers to foster a world of excellence, innovation, and meaningful impact. It nurtures a strong talent pipeline, cultivating a dynamic, skilled workforce prepared to drive transformative change.”

Peter Lam Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Temasek Polytechnic 

"The partnership on OCBC Ignite will provide opportunities for our students to gain valuable hands-on and real-world learning experience at OCBC. 

"It also provides a direct pathway for our students to pursue a banking career through this unique programme.”buThe event at OCBC Centre was attended by Alvin Tan, Minister of State for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as a Board Member of MAS [pictured above, fourth from the left]. Also present were Helen Wong, OCBC Group CEO, [pictured above, fourth from the right] and senior representatives from the five polytechnics.


READ MORE: Singapore emphasises need to create productive employment amidst technological disruptions to jobs and skills 

Lead image / Provided 

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