Standard Bank has signed an industry partner agreement with the international Digital Skills Academy, in line with the bank’s strategy to step up its digital transformation and digital innovation capabilities.
The agreement, the third local partner agreement signed with Digital Skills Academy, will see Standard Bank and Digital Skills Academy partnering to deliver digital product development training and industry experience to the Academy’s International BSc programme participants in South Africa.
Digital Skills Academy’s European-university accredited one-year International BSc degree programmes in digital skills incorporates industry engagement with leading organisations such as Standard Bank in order to offer participants the opportunity to work on real world projects and to produce industry-optimised graduates.
Fanie Van Heerden, head of IT solutions, architecture and design at Standard Bank, says the agreement will support Standard Bank’s transition to a more digital approach. “The whole financial industry is changing, and we have non-traditional players entering the market, so at Standard Bank, we are focusing on digital projects to use the wealth of data we have available and to create greater customer intimacy that makes the customer feel like a ‘segment of one’.
“Because the bank is moving into this digital realm quite fast, Digital Skills Academy participants will be exposed to a lot of innovative thinking, tools and techniques. They will benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach to learning that gives them the opportunity to address the real, practical challenges we have in industry. At the same time, we expect our own staff to have an opportunity to upskill as they collaborate with the team from Digital Skills Academy,” he says.
Van Heerden notes that South Africa is confronted with skills shortages in the areas of DevOps, cloud based solutions, next generation infrastructure, and in areas of the mobile space. “We are constantly seeking new skills as we roll out new functionality across our corporate banking, retail banking, insurance and finance services in the 19 African countries where we operate. We simply don’t have enough developers working on either the front end or the back end. The partnership with Digital Skills Academy could potentially help to provide us with resources to fill those gaps,” he says.
Jovanka Damjanovic, head of engineering improvement at Standard Bank, adds: “We believe the partnership will offer mutual benefits. Digital Skills Academy participants will benefit by connecting the theory to the practical implementation. With our transformational journey towards Lean, Agile and DevOps, the participants will be exposed to a new way of thinking. At the same time, we are very aware that we cannot scale or move forward without creating more IT capabilities in South Africa. By supporting this initiative, we hope to help close the skills gap and support digital transformation.”
Paul Dunne, CEO and founder of Digital Skills Academy, says the industry partner agreement with Standard Bank follows the agreement signed recently with KPMG South Africa and MTN Group. “These partnerships illustrate our desire to work alongside globally recognised corporate brands to offer relevant, cutting edge industry skills development and experience as part of our internationally-acclaimed training programmes, including ordinary BSc degrees and Honours BSc Degrees” he says.