​NAB's Cloud Guild giving in-house AWS training to combat skills shortage

The initiative will give more than 2,000 of the bank's employees access to cloud computing skills development.

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced the launch of the NAB Cloud Guild, an internal program that offers up Amazon Web Services (AWS) skills training.

According to NAB chief technology and operations officer Patrick Wright, the cloud initiative forms part of the bank's technology transformation, which is aimed at making NAB "simpler and faster". Wright said AWS cloud technology is a critical enabler for the transformation.

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"Cloud computing is becoming a dominant technology platform and our people need to have the relevant skills to deliver for our customers," he said. "Customers are demanding seamless, digital experiences and we need to be ready to deliver."

The training program will be available to more than 2,000 of NAB's staff. Graduates will have access to become certified AWS Cloud practitioners and have the ability to continue training to become an associate developer, an associate systems operator, or an associate architect.

Funded by NAB and run by AWS, the three-to-five day cloud training will focus on the areas of architecture, security, developers, operations, and big data, and will be tailored to different competency levels, NAB explained.

NAB is in the process of reshaping its business, announcing during its 2017 financial results in November that it would be reducing its workforce by around 4,000 people. It shortly revealed it would be immediately hiring 600 technology specialists spanning software engineering, data, architecture, and cybersecurity, of which 35 will be recruited into the bank's innovation hub, NAB Labs.

As Australia is facing a skills shortage where technology-based roles are concerned, NAB is aligning itself with the fintech and greater startup scene in the country through NAB Labs to help it attract the right kind of talent.

"We need data scientists, we need UI experts, we need experts who run customer journeys ... software engineers," chief operating officer Antony Cahill told ZDNet in December while announcing further investment into NAB Labs.

Speaking with ZDNet in January, Jonathan Davey, executive general manager of digital and innovation and the man who oversees NAB Labs, announced the bank had integrated Amazon Alexa, allowing customers to ask the voice-activated assistant certain questions about their bank account.

"We fundamentally believe as an organisation the way we need to be able to provide services to customers is changing and we're in a unique position where we're fortunate enough to be able to work with some of the most interesting and innovative companies around the world," Davey said.

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