STANDARD CHARTERED, which has the distinction of being one of Hong Kong's three note-issuing banks, is recruiting a select number of potential high fliers for its international graduate programme. Last year the bank received more than 4,000 applications in Hong Kong with 22 people accepted. These lucky few joined about 300 other graduates recruited from 70,000 applicants globally. 'This programme is specially designed for top talent, with an objective to develop a strong pipeline of diverse, high potential generalist future leaders for the bank,' said Selina Ko, head of talent development in Hong Kong for Standard Chartered's human resources division. 'We provide a world-class two-year training programme to set them up for success on a fast-track international career path.' The scheme, established about 15 years ago and continuously developed since, welcomes applications from undergraduates in any major, as well as from recent graduates with up to three years' work experience. They must have good academic results and be able to show leadership potential. They should also display qualities that match the bank's five core values - being responsive, trustworthy, creative, international and courageous. 'We don't want people who are only interested in the high standard of our training, but those who also echo our corporate culture and live by our values,' Ms Ko said. 'We want to attract more graduates with real leadership potential in order to have a talent pipeline to fuel future growth. 'We must have high performance standards for every one of our employees so that investors have full confidence in us. That is why this type of training programme is so important.' This year the bank is recruiting graduates for consumer and wholesale banking, risk, legal and compliance, finance, and human resources in Hong Kong. 'Each business and function has its own training programme on top of the core international training,' she said. 'Within the two years, each international graduate will also work on a stretched assignment, job rotations and special projects designed to provide a diverse range of critical experience,' Ms Ko said. After local induction lasting two to four weeks, recruits take part in three week-long international training programmes held at various locations around the world. The first week covers items relating to international induction, while the second and third, over the next two years, focus on the skills needed for career and leadership development. Apart from rotation managers, who oversee individual job assignments, a senior business leader is appointed to each recruit as a graduate sponsor to oversee performance and career development throughout the programme. The support network also includes a 'buddy' who can help iron out everyday problems and a designated HR relationship manager. 'We will continue to monitor progress over the following three years,' Ms Ko said. 'We want to ensure that each person achieves their career aspirations.' Standard Chartered now has operations in 56 countries with a strong presence in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The bank's more than 43,000 staff represent 80 different nationalities from around the world. Standard & Poor's raised Standard Chartered's long-term rating to A plus in June. That and the past half-year's 26 per cent year-on-year jump in Hong Kong profits were due to the contribution of talented employees, Ms Ko said. One reason for the bank's success in attracting high-quality candidates is its impressive team morale. Ms Ko said previously several recruits declined offers from other prestigious companies after they interacted with Standard Chartered's employees. 'They were impressed by our people's strong drive for business success. They saw we are highly professional, energetic, flexible and good team players. Our passion at work and the human touch are what they really noticed,' Ms Ko said. Another reason is the international exposure, especially in fast-growing emerging markets, and the bank's flexible approach to employees' career aspirations. The bank is also strongly committed to corporate social responsibility. Specifically in Hong Kong, there are a number of programmes focusing on youth, health and education. Standard Chartered is also a Caring Company and received the Total Caring Award 2005/06. 'I guess it is not only our numerous local and global awards, but also our caring approach, both internally and externally, that actually engages our employees,' Ms Ko said.