Cash top-up for OCBC staff to attend courses

OCBC Bank is encouraging its employees to upgrade themselves by giving them $500 each, which they can use for SkillsFuture courses.

It is giving 800 permanent non-executive employees $500 cash, matching the $500 already given by the Government at the start of the year. The top-up amount will be credited to their bank account together with their April salary.

The move was made in response to feedback that some courses under SkillsFuture cost significantly more than $500, OCBC said.

However, as staff will get the money upfront, to encourage them to use it for training, they will be asked to submit proof of registration from training providers to the bank's human resources department.

Dubbed OCBC FutureReady Credit, the top-up is one of three components of a talent development plan launched by the bank.

The OCBC FutureReady Programme will cost the bank close to $500,000, it said.

Apart from the funding to defray the cost of some training courses, about 5,000 employees of OCBC and its units - OCBC Securities, OCBC Investment Research and OCBC Property Services - will get the flexibility to attend selected courses run during office hours.

OCBC will also help staff navigate the more than 10,000 courses available under the SkillsFuture Credit scheme, by curating a catalogue that shortlists 120.

These range from programmes to enhance skills, such as in accounting, banking and finance, to personal development courses such as workplace challenge management and design.

Said Mr Jason Ho, the bank's head of group human resources: "As an organisation, we must be forward-thinking and progressive so we can lead the charge in today's rapidly evolving world.

"We are cognisant of the fact that for employees, technological advancements, digital innovations, changing consumer behaviour and the increasing number of regulations make it ever more challenging for them to stay current and employable."

Over at DBS, the bank has launched a scheme where about 6,000 employees will get $500 DBS SkillsFlex Credits a year, which can be applied to courses customised by NTUC Learning Hub, or used for SkillsFuture courses.

The Government's SkillsFuture Credit scheme gives every Singaporean aged over 25 an initial credit of $500 for them to attend courses to upgrade their skills.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'Cash top-up for OCBC staff to attend courses'. Print Edition | Subscribe