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On Monday, a new Professional Conversion Programme was initiated at United Overseas Bank, which indicates the financial services sector’s goal of improving employees’ skills in the wake of change, Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Manpower, said.

The programmes would help lessen the danger to the local banking workers being exiled by technology, while also making banks succeed in their revolution plans, she noted.

“The financial services sector remains an important part of our economy and 80 percent of the PMETs (professionals, managers, executives, and technicians) they hire are locals,” she said.

“What we’d like to be able to do is through programmes like the PCP, helping them retain a very strong Singaporean core even as they go through the process of transformation.”

The commercial bank’s first PCP is a program on digital skills in areas like design thinking, customer journey design, channel management, and scenario analysis and planning. It was created in cooperation with Workforce Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Institute of Banking and Finance.

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Every course will be done through classroom learning, workshops, and on-the-job training and will take between three and twelve months for the staff to finish.

The bank’s customer-interacting staff, which accounts for 900, from its network of branches islandwide will be registered in the course over the next 18 months.

“The PCP will supplement the programmes we have been running over the past three years to help our colleagues experience, understand, and apply emerging technologies to our customers’ benefit,” UOB’s head of group channels and digitalization, Janet Young, said in a statement.

“Our branch colleagues will also be able to use their enhanced digital skills to help guide our customers to embrace the benefits that technology can add to their lives.”

UOB will be conducting more courses under the PCP to tackle areas like risk management and wealth management for other operations in the bank in the future.

The PCP has been increasing momentum. Currently, there are 87 PCPs across 34 sectors, Minister Teo said.

Such programmes are vital to the financial services sector here, which needs to be at the vanguard of development to make Singapore stay ahead, Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance, added.

“You can see the technology wave is coming and it’s transforming big things and also the small ways that people transact. The key is to make sure that people working in the financial sector are able to keep up with that. Employees themselves have to have a mindset of being open and not being afraid of it, and to embrace it.”

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