A LEADING Bahrain-based FinTech solutions provider has recently signed a collaboration agreement with the country’s top banking association in a determined bid to build up a ‘talent force’ for the kingdom’s bourgeoning sector.
Waqfe, a firm set up to solve key challenges for banks going digital, and the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB), established to bring together banking institutions of all sizes, are aiming to enable 40 talented Bahrainis to acquire skills in the financial services industry through a structured internship programme.
Fatima Al Alawi, the chief business officer of Waqfe said: “The programme brings together the academia and the profession using digital technologies. The agreement with BAB is absolutely essential in order to prepare our young people for their careers in a field that is at the heart of Bahrain’s historical strengths and its future, as defined by the 2030 roadmap.”
She signed the agreement with Dr Waheed Al-Qassim, CEO of BAB, in the presence of Osama Al Khajah, the board advisor of Waqfe. Dr Waheed said the banks were ‘delighted’ to be involved in the internship initiative which will give young entrepreneurs a ‘head start’ to their FinTech careers. “I’m confident the interns will be able to reap great benefits it provides, as it will equip them for the challenges they will have to face in a high-performance work environment.”
It makes perfect sense to form a tantalising tie-up from a business point of view too as many analysts have highlighted the speed at which banks are being changed by the habits of people aged 18 to 24, known as millennials.
“Banks understand they must provide for young people that prefer digital banking,” suggested Commuter Weekly’s Karl Flinders, “and demand can only grow as these young people now won’t revert to branch-based banking when they get older and those not even born yet who will think the current digital banking offerings are old fashioned.
“Banks have no choice but to offer what these people want or they will use another service.”
And, what better way to uncover what they want, than to bring some bright young minds on board? Being the latest initiative launched by Waqfe, the programme will offer career acceleration opportunities, with internships, scholarships, plus vocational training and, hopefully, job placements.
The programme will be supported by a growing network of corporate companies from Bahrain and the MENA region and the agreement with BAB lends further credence to the rising popularity of internship offerings.
Based on the agreement, Waqfe will be placing 40 Bahraini interns with BAB members. Through these internships, the participants will benefit from real-life work experiences that will give them the chance to develop professional skills and competencies, which in turn will assist them in the development of their future careers.
More than 400 career opportunities for young and talented Bahrainis have already been created through the original programme. Gaining support from a number of corporations and institutions across industries throughout the region, Waqfe’s Internship Programme aims to help create around 5,000 new opportunities for young Bahrainis to advance their careers by 2020.
Who knows, amongst the latest interns could be the new bank of promising young entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers and sector experts like Phoebe Hugh and Xen Baynham-Herd.
Business Insider, which has covered the FinTech sector since its 2014, recently highlighted 35 of the top people in the sector aged under 35 and those considered Generation Z, born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s.
After leaving university CEO Phoebe, 28, became so frustrated with the slow pace of a large insurer she worked at that she enrolled in start-up programme Entrepreneur First and went on to co-found Brolly, an AI-powered insurance aggregation tool. The start-up raised half a million dinars last year from backers.
And Xen, 31, head of strategy and lead economist at Blockchain, the world’s largest provider of crypto-currency wallets, has advised several central banks on digital assets and is helping to position the business as the go-to company for institutions looking to get into crypto or blockchain.
Back in Bahrain, Osama said: “The programme is rewriting the social contract between our young leaders and other stakeholders such as corporates, financial institutions and households. The ‘millennials’ and ‘Gen Z’ are the future. It is a unique opportunity for corporates and financial institutions to get a headstart by embedding themselves early into this emerging ecosystem.”
If you want to be one of the fabulous 40 interns, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 32279458 for more details.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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