Emirates NBD, the largest bank in Dubai, has launched a programme to nurture a pool of 300 future-ready Emirati interns over the next four years.
The "National Digital Talent Programme" is targeted at developing young talent and providing them exposure to the latest technologies and innovations in the financial services industry and directly learning from the bank's digital transformation leaders in artificial intelligence, cloud, open banking, robotics, platforms, fintech and security.
The paid internship will offer undergraduate UAE nationals with the critical skills and practical knowledge needed to flourish in the field of digital and information technologies, including artificial intelligence.
Young Emiratis will also have an opportunity to gain valuable experience in solving financial technology challenges as capstone projects, which they would showcase at internal and external forums such as Coders HQ.
"This programme is aimed at encouraging 300 talents as an intern in Emirates NBD and partners to develop them in the fields of AI, innovation and digital transformation. We believe that data is the future for organizations and human talent is an even bigger asset for financial institutions," said Abdulla Qassem, group chief operating officer, Emirates NBD, said at the launch of the programme on Wednesday.
No reduction in staff
The programme has been launched in cooperation with the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office, Higher Colleges of Technology and the University of Sharjah. The programme will be extended to include more educational institutions in the UAE.
Qassem ruled out any reduction in staff due to advancements in technology. Instead, he said, technology will help humans perform their tasks better.
"This programme is not meant to be replacement of humans but will supplement and equip them with the best tools and technology to perform their jobs better," he said, adding that "without a clear digital strategy, it will be difficult to deliver services that our customers, who want services at fingertips."
Banking is hiring
Eman Abdul Razzaq, group chief human resources officer at Emirates NBD, said market dynamics were changing with the advancement of technology.
"If you had told me five years ago that I would be recruiting more technology and digital team members, I would have laughed. But the reality now is that everything is changing. We are recruiting cloud computing experts, coders, hackers and digital experts. Our technology and digital teams are the largest. We have more data scientists and data engineers than branch managers and that shows the size of the change," said Eman.
"We have to move away from traditional bankers to become more technology and digital advanced. We have a big responsibility within the organisation to upskill staff," she said at the launch of the programme.
Miguel Rio Tinto, group chief information officer, Emirates NBD, said IT was mainly a support function 20 years ago with much bigger branches.
"Now, almost 11 to 12 per cent account for digital resources of overall percentage, and it is growing. Some banks have even 20 per cent of their team members consisting of engineers, digital talent, data engineers, AI experts etc. Now, we have digital banks with 100 per cent digital talent. The world is going in the direction where technology, digital and AI will be at the core of banking," he said, adding that finding the right talent is a challenge.
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