By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Twenty school leavers last Friday completed the Bank Windhoek Banker’s Training and Development Programme. This was the 11th group of graduates since the bank introduced the training programme 10 years ago. This project is one of the bank’s efforts in equipping students with sufficient knowledge and experience to start a career in the banking sector. It also encourages them to explore new fields of knowledge necessary to be an effective employee in today’s challenging business environment. According to the trainer, Ronell Coetzee, there is a high shortage of skills in this industry and considering the unemployment rate among the youths in the country, the bank embarked upon a programme to empower young people with banking skills. Following six weeks of intensive training, Coetzee was confident that the 20 graduates were ready to work in retail banking as frontline tellers, as well as in customer care. The group was specifically trained for the northern regions where there is a great need for bankers. “They are going to new branches in Rundu, Katima Mulilo, Oshakati, Outapi and other places. It is better to have people from that particular area to work there because customers will have trust and confidence in them, than to get a person who does not have a proper understanding of that area,” said Coetzee. Bank Windhoek Group Human Resources Advisor, Elize Fahl, disclosed that the bank spent approximately N$135 000 on the programme. “Bank Windhoek is making an important contribution in equipping staff members with skills and knowledge that will lead to higher levels of socio-economic development and growth of our country,” she said. Head of the Bank Windhoek Banker’s Training and Development Centre, Fillimon Ngairo, noted during the graduation ceremony that the programme plays an active role in providing job opportunities for previously disadvantaged groups within the industry. The workforce in today’s world is faced with major changes and the only way to stay ahead in today’s fast changing economic and socio-environment is through continuously acquiring skills and knowledge, he said. While the bank is aware of the great need to increasingly tackle the low levels of skills and education within the Windhoek area, the same problem exists in other parts of the country. The bank gave the assurance that it would continue with its education and training of its members throughout the country.