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Eight young apprentices to shadow Digi CxOs

AvantiKumar | Aug. 12, 2016
Digi Telecommunications has started the first group of its career-kickstarter talent development programme.

Digi CXO shadowing apprentices 

Photo - Digi CxO Apprentices seen here posing with their CXO mentors. (From left to right) Top row: Praveen Rajan, Chief Digital Officer; Devraj Sathivelu, Loh Keh Jiat, Chief Marketing Officer; Wendy Liang; Albern Murty, Chief Executive Officer; Low Hui Qi; Eugene Teh, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer; Joel Thum; Haroon Bhatti, Chief HR Officer; and Nicole Wong.  Bottom row: Justin Yong; Orsolya Sekerka, Chief IT Officer; Andrea Ong; and Wan Nur Alia


Malaysia's Digi Telecommunications (Digi) has started the first group of its recently announced CXO Apprentices programme with eight apprentices who will each shadow one of the eight Digi Chiefs (CxOs).

Haroon Bhatti, Digi's chief HR officer said the eight young people will receive exclusive mentorship from their respective CXOs, which includes direct exposure to the inner-workings of Digi's business and hands-on involvement in projects spearheaded by these CXOs every single day for the next one year from 1 August 2016.

"The big idea is to put our young talent on the path of accelerated learning early in their careers through intentional mentorship from C-level management, in order for them to become effective contributors and frontrunners in the organisation, driving a fresh new way of work and innovation when they graduate into their respective full-time roles thereafter," said Bhatti.

He said the eight new recruits were selected from 880 other Malaysian applicants from Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada to be Digi's first batch of CXO apprentices.

Bhatti said they were part of the 48 talents chosen to participate in the Freedom Challenge, where individuals went through a full-day business challenge.

Different perspectives

"At the speed our industry is changing, we felt we needed a fast, agile, disruptive way to bring young talent through the developmental levels quickly and so we hacked (or put a new spin on) the run-of-the-mill management trainee programme from start to finish, from the way potential recruits were selected, to the way we assessed individuals during the Freedom Challenge, the CXO interviews and the apprenticeship format versus the typical rotation between departments for the first year of work," he said.

"Take for example the Freedom Challenge, instead of the traditional interview process we decided to assess our young participants via a series of challenges that saw them developing ideas for a potential new product or service within a limited time frame," said Bhatti. "While it helped us evaluate their performance under pressure, and observe their problem-solving skills and thought processes to make our selection for the next phase of interviews, it was also a great way to evaluate if they were a good-fit for Digi's culture, which is very focused on everyday innovation driven by employees."

He also noted that the apprentices made a decision to select new areas from their graduation studies.  "As an organisation, we're also trying out something new and taking the necessary bets to continue innovating to attract the right talent. Time will tell if this is the best format for grooming young talent. We believe we have the right building blocks and full support from management to make this a success, and a conducive environment where future talent will continue to thrive in our digital future - one that provides the stability of a giant, and the speed of a startup."


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