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An alternative pool of talent to tap on
THROUGH internship and mentoring programmes, Deutsche Bank in Singapore has gained access to a valuable pool of talent that they can tap on. Since 2014, 11 students with disabilities have completed internships at the organisation. Of the 11 interns, the bank has hired two as full-time staff. It has taken on another four interns this year.
Deutsche Bank's Work Placement Programme provides internship opportunities for persons with disabilities who are currently studying in institutes of higher learning, such as universities and polytechnics. The bank won the "Achievement Award - Innovative Project" at the 4th Enabling Employers Awards in 2017 for its internship programme.
Deutsche Bank works both directly with universities, as well as partners SG Enable to help source applicants for the programme. SG Enable matches students to relevant employers based on their course of study, interests and preferences. Students will learn in real-work environment, build up their professional networks, and gain practical job-related knowledge and skills. According to SG Enable, such experience will be a valuable addition to the resume, and is instrumental in future career search.
Bernd Starke, head of global subsidiary coverage for German, Austrian, Swiss companies in Asia-Pac at Deutsche Bank, noted that the challenges of hiring persons with disability were far less than what they had anticipated. With the exception of some automated doors for wheelchair users, the bank did not have to make many changes in the organisation.
"The bigger hurdle was overcoming unconscious bias. Inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace needs champions within each organisation who continuously raise awareness and facilitate opportunities, enabling hiring managers to discover this latent talent pool which is often overlooked," he said.
Mr Starke is the bank's champion for dbENable, which is part of Deutsche Bank's global diversity initiative that aims to build a strong inclusive culture. It encompasses the organisation's initiatives to include people with disabilities in the workplace by raising awareness and facilitating opportunities for hiring managers to discover this talent pool.
As part of this effort, Deutsche Bank also participates in the RISE Mentorship programme, which matches students with disabilities to managers and executives in the corporate world. "Deutsche Bank Singapore's participation in the Rise Mentorship programme has given our hiring managers a first-hand experience of working with people with disabilities, which has resulted in a number of trainees joining our workforce," said Mr Starke.
He added: "Participating in the Rise Mentorship programme helps to build awareness within our organisation and makes employment decisions easier."
In 2015, Deutsche Bank also co-founded and has since chaired or co-chaired the Singapore Business Network on DisAbilities (SBNoD) which comprises more than 25 like-minded large corporates and financial institutions. To raise awareness of job opportunities for persons with disabilities, the bank conducted a talk, "How to decide what career/job is best for me", at SG Enable's Training and Career Fair in 2017.