ICBC Standard Bank was one of the first banks in the Square Mile to realise the opportunity to invest in top talent created by the Apprenticeship Levy.
Bobby Lau heads up the bank’s fast-growing eMarkets business. He is one of the ICBC Standard Bank’s first cohort of senior managers to enrol on Corndel’s Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management, and we spoke to him about his experience of the programme so far.
“The programme has allowed me to evolve and increase my self-awareness as a manager. It has helped me to develop the tools to better manage my team and to further grow the business. Without knowing the theory and having the training, the way you manage is based only on your past experiences. You don’t necessarily know if that is the right way to deal with a situation.” he said.
“The personal insights gained from this programme helps you to develop your unique management style and recognise the enormous impact what you do and say as a manager has on your team.”
The 39-year-old added: “Both my coach and my manager have recognised changes in my management style and approach. I’ve become more logical. Rather than just going in and making a decision, I now take a step back, review and understand the situation first.”
Improving team productivity
These benefits flowed directly to his team. The Diploma is helping him coach his team members, design more meaningful performance objectives, and provide higher quality feedback. This has made both Bobby and his team more productive.
“There is now greater trust, and I empower my team to do more,” he said. “That gives me the room to take a more strategic view and make more strategic decisions to support future growth of the business.
“The programme has also prepared me for future responsibilities. Part of that has been about business development in terms of budgeting, financing, project management and communicating to senior management which is critical to being a successful manager.”
Making Apprenticeships work in a corporate environment
Dawn Jackson, Head of Learning and Development at ICBC Standard Bank designed the bank’s Levy strategy to prioritise leadership development.
She said: “When I first suggested having apprenticeships in the bank, the senior management team were intrigued. I had to highlight that ‘apprenticeships’ were not just about school leavers. It was key that the business was aware that study needed to be integral to day-to-day responsibilities.”
“The feedback has been really positive: managers describe how the Diploma is helping them create the right environment for their team to flourish, think more critically about problems, and take better decisions.
“It has enhanced how we identify talent and develop management capabilities across the bank.”