UOB launches course for all 26,000 employees to help build core skills in digital age

Head of group human resources, UOB Dean Tong (left) and UOB deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong at the launch of UOB's Better U programme on Oct 15, 2019.
Head of group human resources, UOB Dean Tong (left) and UOB deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong at the launch of UOB's Better U programme on Oct 15, 2019.PHOTO: UOB

SINGAPORE - United Overseas Bank (UOB) launched on Tuesday (Oct 15) a learning and development programme to prepare its 26,000 employees for a digital future, at a time where the financial services sector is seeing rapid change.

To be rolled out progressively across the group, the 12-week foundation course known as "Better U" focuses on five core competences that UOB found essential for employees to remain relevant. The modules aim to encourage a growth mindset, develop complex problem solving skills, acquire skills in the fields of digital innovation, human-centred design and data.

By the end of 2020, it expects that at least 70 per cent of all UOB employees globally will have completed the course.

Most modules have been designed as games or interactive team-based formats for a more engaging learning experience, with almost all the modules in a digital format so that employees can embark on their learning journeys at their own convenience.

Following the foundation course, UOB employees can choose to pursue specialised learning tracks or educational opportunities that are aligned with their capabilities and interests. The bank has introduced two progression pathways in the areas of data management and project management, and will expand the range of specialised learning tracks over the next three years. Employees can also apply for financial support to advance their education up to a Master's degree should they meet the bank's selection and sponsorship criteria.

The bank will also set up a dedicated team to advise and guide employees as they navigate the future demands of work.

UOB's Better U programme is said to be the first such training initiative that covers soft skills as well as digital and data skills to receive accreditation by the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF). Upon completion of the foundation course, UOB employees will be awarded a UOB-IBF Certificate of Achievement.

Dean Tong, head of group human resources, UOB, said: "To help our people find their place in an environment where work is being transformed by technology and customer expectations, we designed the Better U programme to nurture a mindset that is curious and open to new avenues of personal and professional growth.

"The Better U programme is part of our long-term approach as we nurture our talent and empower them to take control of their future. Through it, we hope our people will be able to discover their full potential and for some, possibly chart a new course in their career."

This initiative comes as the global banking industry is undergoing a sea change. Some 60,000 jobs have been estimated to be shed in banks around the world this year as banks face intense competition among themselves and with fintech startups in a low interest rate environment.