The need for knowledge-driven employees who understand their mandate and the expectations of their employers is assuming the front burner in the new knowledge economy where performance is knowledge based. In the Nigerian banking industry where the challenge of paucity of skilled and professional work force is daunting, a number of banks have been looking inward and ingenious in finding ways around the issue.
Skye Bank Plc’s response to the challenge is the establishment of the Skye Business School in Ibadan, a residential and boarding facility that provides a conducive atmosphere for learning and teaching. Equipped with the best facilities both for e-learning and standard classroom teaching, the school produces well baked professional bankers as well as ingrains the basic banking skills in trainees coming into the Skye world.
Last week, a total of 62 fresh trainees of the Skye Business School who passed through a very rigorous and thorough academic programme joined the work office of Skye Bank Plc after the necessary basic banking training programme.
The graduands who are fresh university graduates with diverse academic backgrounds and impressive academic records, have just completed an intensive 7-week basic banking training programme at the school based in Ibadan.
Addressing the new Skye Bankers at the graduating ceremony of streams 39 and 40 of the ‘Skye Graduate Intensive Training (SGIT), Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Timothy Oguntayo, advised the new employees to uphold integrity and professionalism in their various assignments. Oguntayo said the bank placed a high premium on staff training and manpower development as a way of building a knowledgeable and competent work force in order to the employees excel in their assigned tasks.
“We have given you a good foundation; you must continue to build on this foundation to be knowledgeable and to excel in your careers”, he said.
He also charged them to embrace team spirit, hard work and integrity in order to succeed in their careers.
Earlier, Skye Bank’s Head of Human Capital Management, Taiwo Olupeka, said the 62 graduands were the successful lot among the over 1000 candidates who sat for the bank’s recruitment test at the beginning.
Olupeka described them as the ‘best of the best’ after a very rigorous and thorough exercise, charging them to do their best to make the bank the first and leading commercial bank in the country.
Narrating their experiences at the school, some members of streams 39 and 40 who recently graduated praised the bank for establishing such a training institution. The overall best graduating student of the combined streams, Micheal Emetoh, an Industrial Chemistry graduate of Imo State University, Michael Emetoh, said he came into contact with Skye Bank during his service year in Benin, in 2004. Emetoh said he was told of the recruitment exercise the bank was doing then and he promptly applied online.
“I did the computer based test and passed. Then the series of other assessment before coming to the Training School. When I came here, I was intimidated because of my background in Industrial Chemistry-you know we had people who read accounting, Finance and others. However, I quickly settled down and faced the challenge squarely”, Emetoh said.
Although he said he did not know he was going to come tops, he nonetheless said he graduated with Second Class Upper. Emetoh expressed satisfaction with his feat and promised to hit the ground running. “I know the bank has invested a lot in me. So, I am going to give my best to the bank in return to make the bank realize its vision and mission of being the first and leading commercial bank in the country”, he said.
Also, the best graduating trainee in stream 40 and second best graduand overall, Oluwaseun Iyanuoye, said she never expected she would record such a feat. “I read Estate Management at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and graduated with Second Class Upper. I got to know about Skye Bank through a friend. When I was coming here, I just wanted to come and go as I wansnt thinking of being the best. However, I feel good coming tops in my stream because I met a lot of brilliant people here. What it mens is that I am also good”, she said.
On what she would contribute to the bank, she said would work hard to help the bank realize its business goals being a performance driven person.
Both Odeleye Tolulope and Odutayo Oluwaseun who came second and third respectively in their streams, also expressed joy that they finished the programme successfully. Odeleye who read accounting at Ekiti State University, said it was her mother who is a customer of Skye Bank that got her interested in the bank. “My mum is a teacher who operates an account with Skye Bank. I got interested in the bank and here I am now. The experience is thrilling, I gave my best. I will continue to seek how I can continuously improve the bank’s bottomline in my own way” she said.