Founded in 1850, ‘Luzerner Kantonalbank’ (LUKB) is the leading bank in Canton Lucerne, Switzerland. With total assets of about CHF 25 billion (€20.8 billion), and a staff of close to 1,000, Luzerner Kantonalbank is one of Switzerland’s ten largest banks. With 26 branches throughout the canton, Luzerner Kantonalbank also has the densest banking network in the region.
Banking, like many other industries, is becoming increasingly reliant on technology. Consequently, the ICT skill levels of employees are becoming increasingly more important to the overall success of any banking institution. LUKB management recognised that while employees could often use various computer programmes for their routine daily tasks without any problems, they had too low a level of knowledge about what features these individual applications offered for specialised tasks. As a result, management looked for a solution that would encourage their staff to further develop their knowledge of those computer applications by themselves, and chose the ECDL programme as the most appropriate measure to support the development of this knowledge. The ECDL project was initiated by the internal IT training department of LUKB, its aim being to improve employees’ ICT skills to enable them to perform their daily activities more effectively.
LUKB first implemented ECDL in 2005. ECDL is offered to LUKB employees on an ongoing basis, and also as an optional professional development measure. Since then, it has been developed into a standard offering within the company. LUKB runs ECDL test days every three months; employees are able to avail of these test days to have their computer skills certified, and can train/study to suit their own schedules. This flexible training and testing method has proven flexible enough to suit the busy schedules of the bank’s employees. Essentially, this means that employees are not tied to fixed training times, which enables them to train when they are at home, and therefore benefits their work/life balance.
Project Delivery Details
The bank’s internal test dates are posted online, using the company intranet, where staff can register for the ECDL programme through a special course registration tool. The exams take place in the internal training rooms of LUKB, which is also an official ECDL Accredited Test Centre. An extensive online study programme – Web-Based Training (WBT) - is available for all employees, which they can access from their workplace, or externally, at any time. In addition, the IT department periodically offers employees internal training courses. This flexible approach to ECDL training and testing within the bank has contributed significantly to the popularity of the programme at LUKB.
Why ECDL was Selected as the Certification of Choice
There were numerous reasons why LUKB chose the ECDL programme. The following factors were decisive:
- Luzerner Kantonalbank would be able to apply to become an ECDL Accredited Test Centre (ATC)
- The tests are fully automated and are marked immediately
- The exams are in-application (i.e. they take place online directly in the respective applications), thus providing realistic work-based scenarios
ECDL training and testing is funded completely by Luzerner Kantonalbank. The employees only need to pay for the Skills Cards themselves.
The number of candidates participating in the ECDL programme fluctuates from year to year. To date, approximately 100 employees have been certified. Employee demand for certification under the ECDL programme tends to increase when new computer application versions are introduced into the work environment, as there is a realisation amongst staff of the need to update their skills as these new applications are deployed internally. Additionally, as part of a three-year training/apprenticeship programme run at LUKB, more than 20 apprentices are ECDL certified every year, which forms part of their overall apprenticeship. The development of apprentices’ ICT skills is seen as a crucial element in their overall skills development.
The biggest benefit that management has observed to date is the noticeable increase in the efficiency of staff. They are now able to perform their ICT-related tasks more quickly, and have to ask for less IT support from the LUKB helpdesk, or from other colleagues. Management has also noted that the candidates’ feedback is always very positive. In addition to the ECDL candidates benefiting from a globally recognised certificate, they have commented on how they have a greater understanding of the various new functions and features of various computer applications, which has enabled them to complete their work more efficiently, and has also been of benefit to their lives outside of work. The ECDL programme is now viewed as an important component of their ‘Continuous Professional Development’ (CPD), and of lifelong learning. Consequently, the bank not only benefits from enhanced productivity of staff, but individual staff members also feel that they are gaining skills that are universally applicable.