Standard Chartered is taking on 300 interns, who will carry out virtual placements at the bank.
This is another example of businesses using the latest communications technology to continue with business as usual as far as possible amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The six-week virtual programme has been introduced because of the lockdown and the limitations on staff being physically present in offices. The virtual internship includes e-learnings and virtual classroom sessions.
The switch to virtual internships, although forced, will benefit the company and staff as digital ways of working become the norm, according to Melissa Angerson, head of early careers at Standard Chartered.
She said the bank’s first virtual internship comes during the pandemic when there is a rapid shift to virtual in the workplace, a trend she said is here to stay. “This continued commitment to our internship programme despite the current environment is not only the right thing to do, but also ensures our future workforce is ready to embrace a digital state of work,” said Angerson.
The first intake of virtual interns will provide Standard Chartered with a platform to make it a permanent feature of the bank. “The introduction of distance learning as part of this year’s internship will give us the opportunity to assess the value, as well as the viability, of such technical training, as we look to permanently embed it within our ongoing internship offering,” said Angerson.
Separately, Standard Chartered will this year launch its first Cyber Apprenticeship Programme in the UK.
Big businesses are increasingly accepting that the working methods of the past will have to change after Covid-19 subsides. As a result, workarounds to help them cope with staff being unable to work on-site are seen as long-term projects.
Speaking to Computer Weekly in April, Stanton Jones, director and principal analyst at ISG, said businesses should already be planning for life after the pandemic. “We believe that is going to be a fundamental rethinking of what it means to be a resilient business,” he said.
Digital transformation will be essential for businesses to increase their resiliency, said Jones. “Companies will need to be able to engage customers and employees in both physical and digital worlds, and the ability to switch between them seamlessly as conditions warrant.”
Technologies such as automation software, digital labour, cyber security and e-commerce platforms will see “supercharged growth in the coming quarters”, he added.