The Financial Institutions Training Center (FITC) and Nexford University, an online university, have partnered to bridge the emerging skills gap in the finance sector.
According to Fadl Al Tarzi, the chief executive officer of Nexford University, the collaboration with FITC has two objectives; to provide training for those outside the finance sector for job opportunities in the sector and secondly to equip those already in the sector with skills that they need to enhance their career mobility.
“We have two objectives; to help fresh graduates to secure jobs in organisations within the finance sector in Nigeria, essentially, it is qualifying entry-level applicants, so that they are job ready from day one. The second objective is helping existing staff in the financial sector build the skills that they need for social and career mobility, from one position to another position,” Al Tarzi said.
He added, “When we think about the disruptions that are happening in the financial sector here or across the world as a result of a number of different trends from Artificial intelligence to cyber security to the emergence of fintechs to mobile banking, these changes are putting a lot of pressure on banks. To respond to those trends, banks need to reskill team members. Maybe 30 years ago, banks would prioritise having more tellers in a branch, because people would walk into that branch to withdraw cash, deposit cash or pay for things in cash so tellers were important jobs 30 years ago, today, a lot more people are moving to mobile banking, online banking, digital currencies basically, so the role of the teller is not quite important as it used to be.
“So instead of those tellers being let go, the number of transactions being done digitally is increasing, when that happens, it causes a lot of data to be created that requires business analysts and data analysts to analyse them. It also creates a lot of risks because everything is now digital. So banks need to address these risks and the way to do that is through upskilling and reskilling their team, to move tellers to become data analysts. This is a lot more effective for banks to do versus terminating employment and trying to hire new employees.”
In her comments, Chizor Malize, the managing director of FITC said, “The finance sector is the worst hit when we talk about talent migration. Everyone in this room must have started to face some kind of significant reduction in the quality of services from their financial services providers and a lot of times, you hear that a lot of the people have left or migrated. Despite that, there are still a lot of opportunities around. There are still a lot of people who don’t have jobs but the jobs are there. This is to create capacity in the areas of need, some of which include software engineering, cybersecurity, and data analytics. A lot of tertiary institutions do not prepare people for these roles that I have mentioned right now and so you find people leave school and they are not employable. Some who are employable do not have the skill sets in the areas where the jobs are. So, as you can imagine, such a collaboration with Nexford helps us through this competence framework and competencies mapping. We are also able to find areas of opportunities and gaps and provide learning interventions to fill that.”
For, Oghogho Inneh, the Country Director, Nigeria, Nexford University, the collaboration will address the issue of mismatch between available jobs and available skills.
She said, “It is not a shortage of jobs, it is that there is a mismatch between the skills of people out there searching for jobs and the jobs that are available. I think that the project by virtue of creating opportunities for people to get skilled, get upskilled, we can start to see that unemployment addressed.”
It was revealed that the training program has been specifically designed for the Nigerian market and will be delivered solely online via the university’s platform.