Twenty-five students have begun a new financial technology training programme at the Robert Mathavious Institute for Financial Services at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.

The six-month programme, the first of its kind in the territory, launched on March 21, and is hosted by HLSCC in partnership with the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing, BVI Finance, and the Virgin Islands government.

It is designed to nurture the growing fintech ecosystem in the VI by developing a cadre of certified professionals, according to the course description.

Over six months, students will complete a coursework phase with four intensive courses on the fundamentals of fintech, business and related programming concepts, and a project phase where they will oversee the practical implementation of a fintech project in a local partnering firm.

Associate Professor Keith Carter from NUS School of Computing, one of the programme’s instructors, said during the launch ceremony that students would be learning “what real artificial intelligence is, where we are with it and what is important about something called actionable intelligence.”

Additionally, he said, they will get a chance to try out new technologies like robotic process automation.

“But we want you to have the core tools: ideally, technology, ways of thinking, [and how you can] bring it right back into your offices,” he added. “Whether it’s government or a business, they will provide a benefit.”

Mr. Carter first visited the territory in 2018 as the keynote speaker at the Fintech Immersion Conference, where he discussed fintech concepts including blockchain, cryptocurrency, machine technology and artificial intelligence.

Demand for his services apparently remains high, given that the new programme received “overwhelming interest and applications,” according to a press release from HLSCC.

The college plans to launch a second cohort later this year, and all successful participants will receive a completion certificate from the NUS School of Computing.

A ‘changing world’

Also during the launch ceremony, Dr. Derry Hodge, director of the college’s financial services institute, called the programme “a culmination of many long hours of planning, thinking, strategising, overcoming obstacles, but all for a very good cause.”

He added, “The world is changing and changing very quickly, and in order to remain relevant, we need to be up to speed with technology. It will help us to serve our customers better and also to maintain our competitive advantage.”

Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said during the ceremony that the programme’s graduates will play a role in the public sector as well as the private sector, with the growing push for e-government.

“With the passage of multiple pieces of legislation and the digitalisation of some of our processes, I see the realisation of these fintech courses as the shot in the arm that we need to advance the process of digitalisation in the public, private and even the civic sectors,” Dr. Wheatley said.

He pledged to provide a donation of $60,000 on behalf of government and his ministry.

“I ask that this historic first cohort of these fintech courses, these 25 belongers, make good use of this opportunity, and proudly present themselves as the vanguard of the movement to take the BVI’s economy, our governmental processes, and our way of life to the next level,” Dr. Wheatley said.

In Singapore

Also at the ceremony, NUS Senior Director Dr. Chan Mun Kit explained that fintech courses are very popular in Singapore and enjoy strong support from the Singapore government, and he said he was pleased to see the VI government following that lead.

“The facilitators are both faculty members and practitioners in the field of fintech,” he told students. “This is a course that is tailored and customised for you, and I hope that you will treasure this time with us and learn seriously on this, and the time that you invest is all worth it.”