Three private organisations are joining hands in an education and upskilling drive to more effectively prepare inquisitive, driven individuals to meet the ever-growing job demands of the rapidly-burgeoning Cambodian financial technology (fintech) industry.

The Association of Banks in Cambodia’s (ABC) education arm, the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), and Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT) on August 30 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kirirom Institute of Technology (KIT) to promote collaboration on bridging the skills gap between the academic institutions’ programmes and banking industry needs.

Through the MoU, IBF, CAFT and KIT will collaborate on various initiatives to bridge the gap between the rapidly-evolving skills need of the fintech industry and those provided by the higher education system, according to a joint statement.

The MoU additionally offers university students and faculty members an opportunity to develop and improve their skills, knowledge and network in the banking and fintech industries.

Besides promoting industry-driven capacity-building and education, this partnership will also enhance the status of the financial sector through the promotion of industry-endorsed certification and industry-ready graduates.

“The key objective is for Cambodian graduates to be equipped with the relevant and quality competencies for their future employment, which will [bode] well for the overall [socio-economic] development of the country,” it said.

ABC Education Committee chairperson Qazreen Chan Abdullah said the MoU provides an example of how academia and industry could work together to heighten the quality of education, which she described as a win-win strategy.

“The higher education institutions [improve the] quality of their graduates whilst the industry is able to recruit better-quality and appropriately-skilled talents,” she said.

CAFT chairman Remi Pell stressed that his association was proud to be part of the beginning of a “prosperous cooperation between our institutions” to prepare students and young aspiring individuals to achieve success by cultivating a workforce that is well equipped and ready for the ever-evolving fintech industry with adherence to excellent local and international quality standards.

Meanwhile, KIT president Leng Phirom underscored that his institution disrupts the traditional learning model and replaces it with the experiential learning through projects and industry linkage.

The added exposure to industrial settings boost students’ reflexive deliberations of the connection between the classroom and important issues facing their daily lives, particularly those concerning the emerging fintech scene, he said.

“Fintech-savvy skills and knowledge are needed for KIT students to ensure engagement with the banking sector and stay afloat in the job market,” Phirom said.